...a Personal Account of the Battle of Britain, from Greenhill Books
Title: Spitfire Pilot
Author: David Crook
Publisher: Greenhill Books
This small 206-page paperback is a reprint after it was first published back in 2006, and comes with a few additional photos to add to that original edition. It is the diary of a Battle of Britain fighter pilot, David Crook. While he survived the battle, he was later killed while training in 1944.
After an introduction which explains things, the diary itself starts from the pre-war period when David flew with Auxiliary Air Force squadron 609. He married on the eve of the war, went through training and was posted back to 609 Sqn where he flew Spitfires throughout the Battle of Britain period. We hear about his first combat, and his first kill. Periods of boredom and periods of regular flying and combat. Tactics, the celebrations and his feelings of loss when friends he breakfasted with were no longer there that same evening. It takes us through the periods of August 1939 - July 1940, August - September and finally October - November. The account ends when he is finally posted away from 609 Sqn. There is a section of his photos which help to illustrate the story.
Some of the language used is not acceptable to many this year, but it is his personal diary, written in 1940, not now. Hearing how it felt to enjoy flying itself, along with the business of flying in combat, I think this is a valuable record to read if you have any interest in the story of the Battle of Britain.
Thanks to Pen & Sword books for our review copy.