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Finding the Few: Some Outstanding Mysteries of the Battle of Britain Investigated and Solved [Hardcover]

Andy Saunders
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Sep 2009
1940 in the skies over Britain was a time of courage, heroism and extreme danger. Many men gave their lives to keep our island free and some disappeared into the summer sky with no trace of them ever being found. This remarkable book records the life of a dozen of these pilots shot down and killed but who remained missing for decades until diligent research and searches primarily by the author brought identification to them and closure to their families. Each case represents a fascinating human story of humour, drama, love and tragedy; and each one represents a startling tale of detective work and remarkable coincidences, oft-times revealing controversy. Finding the Few ends with a mystery still unsolved, has photographs throughout, and will stand as a fitting testament to those men lost but not forgotten. By the author of Bader's Last Fight and Mannock VC.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Grub Street; 1st Edition edition (30 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906502552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906502553
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 17.7 x 25.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A welcome addition to the treasury. This book, with nearly 200 pages, is an interesting work, and a fitting memorial to those who gave their lives. --Ashford Extra

I have been reading a chapter of the book each night and I have to you what a masterpiece it is! You have told a very tricky story, which was long overdue, without pulling any punches. You have written it all so well and fairly that I know I shall be very disappointed when I finish it. --Winston Ramsey, historian and author

A remarkable publication ... highly recommended --Britain at War magazine

An interesting read ... it certainly stands as a fitting tribute and testament to those men who lost their lives. --Bygone Kent magazine

'I am awed by the very concept of your quest as well as the lucid way in which you unravel a complex narrative. Its an entertaining, moving and important book.' --Terry Deary, author of Horrible Histories

This is a book for those who want to remember the lives of men otherwise too long forgotten. --The Lady

Each case reveals a fascinating human story of humour, drama, love and tragedy. Illustrated with many photographs, it will stand as a fitting testament to those men lost but not forgotten. --Best of British

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the Few 8 Sep 2010
By Jamie
Having just read this book I've felt compelled to write a short review.

I don't really want to repeat the sentiments of the other reviewer's but I have to agree with much of what's already been said. The BofB holds a special interest for me and have read several books on the subject but I don't think any have moved me as much as this.

To anyone reading these reviews, I would recommend picking up this book, I don't want to give to much away but needless to say at times the attitude of the MoD or the Air Ministry as it was in the 1940's will leave the reader dumbfounded, especially in the case of Flt Sgt J Gilders, or to my mind worse, is how unco-operative some of the landowners whose land many of the young men who fought in that summer laid undiscovered, in their " Aluminum Coffins", is astounding. It encapsulates every thing that is good and bad in this country, official beaurocracy, greed and enthusiasts showing everybody how it's done despite the 'official' line.

With the aid of such computer marvels as google earth you can zoom into the area where the aircraft were excavated, which is well worth a try. The case of F/O M Doulton is a good one to look at in this as the A13 now runs almost across the spot shown in the photo of the excavation of his Hurricane in 1984, looking at the railway line, pylons and row of houses it is possible to see where he came down.

All I can say is well done Andy Saunders and keep up the good work, in fact I've already pre-ordered the 'Finding the Foe' book due to be released on the 13th September.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read 19 Aug 2010
As someone who loves real mysteries I found this book absolutely fascinating. It is full of interesting information about the WW2 pilots and and what (possibly) befell them, and is packed with photos taken at the time, and at the crash sites once the investigations had begun some decades later. Amazing.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the few 28 Oct 2009
before you say not another book on The Few i hope they keep coming especially this type of Finding the Few as there are still a lot i,m sure still unfound,i must admit some bias towards this as the Battle of Britain is one of my main interests and this book along with its predecessors does these missing pilots justice.
All chapters in this book are researched with detail and some of the accounts are quite (no very) moving and although its an old cliche we wouldn,t be here today if this battle had been lost.Yes this book is worth buying
for the painstaking effort that the people who are involved in this kind of work do to those missing to
bring final closure to their families,long may their efforts continue
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sad tail well written 1 April 2014
By Jonno
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is well written by the author, who has been associated with finding British and allied pilots; who where listed as missing in the Battle of Britain, a sad story but a worthwhile effort; for the families to know where their boys are now resting, so they can seek closure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking 13 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had absolutely no idea that some of the missing Few still lay where they had fallen, entombed in their crashed aircraft, but I suppose it stands to reason. Where else would the missing be? It begs the question how many more are out there? This book raises all kinds of issues around the practicality and even the moral issues surrounding these discoveries and excavations - and even exhumations. The detective work described is absorbing and some of the relative's tales are quite poignant. A very worthwhile and thought provoking read for any historic aviation enthusiast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of The Few Is Missing 10 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very enlightening book about the RAF pilots who crashed during The Battle Of Britain and their bodies were either not recovered and buried, or were buried as unknown when there was doubt about who they were.
The air ministry was not entirely helpful when families tried to find out what had happened to their loved ones.
It was mainly private individuals who doggedly researched all the circumstances and sometimes carried out a dig at the location of the crash, to discover who and where the airmen were.
Some airmen, unfortunately are still missing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Tribute 30 Dec 2010
The essential structure of this book might appear to be limited. Essentially it deals with a succession of investigations during the 1970s and 1980s into aircraft wrecks dating from the Battle of Britain. The same scenario is repeated several times - missing pilot, evidence of the their location, official inaction or incompetence, enthusiastic amateurs save the day, case closed.

The book moves beyond the ordinary for two reasons. Firstly, the knowledge and enthusiasm of the author is clear and his desire to see the missing servicemen properly honoured and their families given closure is obvious.

Secondly, the reader cannot help but be drawn into the stories of the pilots described in the book. The sacrifice and heroism of 'the Few' is compelling in itself but there is a tragic quality to each of these individual tales. Many of the pilots were incredibly young, several died within weeks of beginning active service and all left behind wives, parents and siblings with questions that remained unanswered for thirty or forty years. The impact on these families is particularly poignant especially as it appears that many of the cases could have been easily solved either at the time or shortly after the war's end.

If I have one criticism it is that I would have liked to have understood more about the techniques of the investigation and the archaeology. Otherwise this is a fine book and a worthwhile read for anyone wanting a rounded appreciation of the Battle of Britain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a brilliant book written by a real expert
This is a brilliant book written by a real expert. The detail and photographs are fantastic of a much misunderstood subject. Highly recommended, buy one now,while you still can. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Richard Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Value and fast delivery
Published 29 days ago by Mr M W Fluke
5.0 out of 5 stars Contempt for fallen heroes
Most of us are aware of the heroic deeds, and ultimate sacrifice of RAF personnel throughout WWll , but this book casts a shadow as to the lack of compassion shown towards families... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Aileen
2.0 out of 5 stars Misgivings......
Whilst some aspects of this book were both absorbing and fascinating when considering the loss of RAF personnel during the Battle of Britain, I do have nonetheless some misgivings... Read more
Published 4 months ago by
5.0 out of 5 stars Usual high standard
Good detective work in solving past events in 1940 - would love to go to England one day to experience some of the findings
Published 9 months ago by Gregory Norton
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the Few
I bought this book to complement the other publications I have on the Battle of Britain.

The presentation of this subject matter is accomplished in a superb manner, for... Read more
Published on 19 Dec 2010 by Graylew
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fascinating BoB volume
Andy has once more provided us with a well researched volume relating to certain unidentified airmen lost during the Battle of Britain which as always has been well presented in... Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2010 by John Fitch
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the Few
Excellent book full of detective work in trying to trace the Few.Of particularly interest if you live in Kent where many of the fallen were found.
Published on 20 Oct 2010 by Stocko
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