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Airmen's Incredible Escapes

...Accounts of Survival in the Second World War, from Pen & Sword

Title: Airmen's Incredible Escapes
Author: Bryn Evans
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-52676-172-9

Accounts of Survival in the Second World War. A key point, to me anyway, are the simple statistics quoted that in just Bomber Command alone, more than half of the 125,000 aircrew involved became casualties. Many of those were killed of course, and we will never know their stories, but some had amazing stories of survival and it is these stories which fill this book.
There are 37 chapters, each one covering an individual story and these are divided across 7 sections, each covering the different years of the war. They are not restricted to Bomber Command, though these are a significant element. Some of the stories are a result of accidents during training or while ferrying aircraft to a new area of operations, others were newly trained while others were very experienced aircrew. The equipment changes over time as well, from the Fairy Battles of 1940, to Wellingtons and of course the Lancasters in the later years of the war. Luck played a part in survival for some, while their fellow crew members were not so lucky. For others it was a determination to survive or escape which they managed to achieve. Not just the dangers of air combat, but of crash landing, or bailing out at either high or low altitudes. Add a series of maps, and a selection of photos where possible and it is a very readable series of account.
I felt that not only does the book capture a series of very personal stories, from night over Europe to the heat of North Africa and the jungles of the Far East, it tells us of what our fathers and grandfathers had to endure. Bravery, luck, skill and individual determination against adversity all come into it.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.


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