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Luck and a Lancaster: Chance and Survival in World War II (Airlife's Classics) [Paperback]

Harry Yates
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

15 Mar 2001 Airlife's Classics
Proceeds, raid by raid, through the author's tour of operational duty over the last five months of 1944. It is essentially a bomber pilot's story, but it also tells of grinding operational pressure, the brotherhood of the crew, and their abiding fears of injury and death.

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Luck and a Lancaster: Chance and Survival in World War II (Airlife's Classics) + No Moon Tonight (Witness to War) + Rear Gunner Pathfinder (Witness to War)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd; New edition edition (15 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840372915
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840372915
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 15.7 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

A pilot's memoir of chance and survival in enemy skies
For a few brief months in the spring of my life I flew bombers against the defences of Germany. Partly through good training and hard work but mostly through luck, I survived. Many whom I knew were not so fortunate. But we all lived in vital and exhilarating times, the memory of which still seems too important and relevant to be lost with the passing of our generation. My book is an attempt to fix my own memories. I have tried to convey how we, as aircrew, experienced war, how we lived and how we flew. I have tried to communicate the sense of adventure and comradeship. I hope the reader will be entertained and, from time to time, amused. But most of all I hope you will come to the end of "Luck and a Lancaster" with a true and greater understanding of we who served in Bomber Command during those momentous years. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I had been researching the service history of my great uncle, a Flight Engineer on Lancasters with a 'sister' squadron of Harry Yates' 75 Sqn. Despite gathering a wealth of information from official sources, and survivors from his squadron I had not been able to discover exactly how he had been lost.
I picked up a copy of Harry Yates' book quite by chance and, leafing through it, saw his chapter on his most feared target, an oil refinery at Homberg in Germany. Knowing that this was the target where my great uncle and most of his crew were killed, I read on. The detail of the narrative including dates was excellent and he described in detail the op on which my great uncle died and also, most poignantly, an eye-witness description of the loss of his aircraft. Discovering this information was an immense source of comfort to my great uncle's brothers, now in their 80s.
Thank you, Harry, for making this possible.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and compulsive reading. 3 July 2001
Format:Paperback
This book provides a present day reader with a very privileged view into what life must have been like for the crews of these heavy bombers. It is beautifully written and makes for compulsive reading with a good mix of aviation and operational information but also great human content, something I have found lacking in other publications. Harry Yates conveys the close relationship between the crew and paints a graphic picture of their highs and lows. Readers will find themselves carried along with each operation, feeling relief when the wheels touch down at Mepal. Luck and a Lancaster is described by Harry Yates as a way to fix the 'remembrance of something important', it most certainly does that and far more. It will enable those born many years later to image what it was like when thousands of these huge machines flew in our skies. He sums up the Lancaster thus 'These were not mere bombers, crude forms of steel and oil. They were guiding beacons of the spirit. With them flew our pride, our hope, our purpose'. (p172) The book also contains a unique photographic record of the members of the crew; their aircraft and superb photographs taken by the cameras after the bombs had been dropped. Yates does not sensationalise but writes about his role factually explaining how crews carried out their orders in a duty bound process. He ends the story by describing his return to Mepal on an impulse, many years later. This return visit is a moving and thought provoking close to a well-written and highly readable factual account.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account & Enjoyable Read 30 July 2003
Format:Hardcover
In his book ‘Luck and a Lancaster’, Harry Yates offers the reader a chance to follow the author through his tour of operations as a Lancaster pilot during the last five months of 1944. The story begins with the author as a young English lad wanting to join the Royal Air Force to fly fighters just after the Battle of Britain (as all young English boys surely wanted!).
We follow Yates through his initial training at flight school and then into training for multi-engine aircraft in Canada, something he wasn’t expecting. We then read of his exploits as an instructor and then finally his posting to a Operational RAF Squadron flying one of the great bombers of the Second World War, the Avro Lancaster.
Young Harry Yates ends up with 75 Squadron (RNZAF) based at Mepal in August of 1944 with a task of completing 30 operations against occupied Europe and Germany. Although by this period of the war the conflict in the air had swung towards the Allies it was still a very dangerous occupation flying in Bomber Command. This is the guts of the story, flying with Harry Yates and his crew in one of the many Lancaster’s allotted to them through the 30 missions required to complete their tour of Ops.
I found this story truly amazing and it was so well told I was totally immersed in the narrative. I must admit it has been awhile since I have read such an interesting and captivating account of war in the air and I cannot imagine anyone who has an interesting in aerial warfare not being taken by this honest and enjoyable book.
Not once did I find the book bogging down in too much detail, not once did it flag or slow down in pace, even the author’s account of his training and instructional flights were full of interest, humour and occasional sadness. This is a great testament to the young crews who flew in Bomber Command doing a job without question that cost many their lives. Well done to the author!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account! 16 May 2003
Format:Hardcover
In his book ‘Luck and a Lancaster’, Harry Yates offers the reader a chance to follow the author through his tour of operations as a Lancaster pilot during the last five months of 1944. The story begins with the author as a young English lad wanting to join the Royal Air Force to fly fighters just after the Battle of Britain (as all young English boys surely wanted!).
We follow Yates through his initial training at flight school and then into training for multi-engine aircraft in Canada, something he wasn’t expecting. We then read of his exploits as an instructor and then finally his posting to a Operational RAF Squadron flying one of the great bombers of the Second World War, the Avro Lancaster.
Young Harry Yates ends up with 75 Squadron (RNZAF) based at Mepal in August of 1944 with a task of completing 30 operations against occupied Europe and Germany. Although by this period of the war the conflict in the air had swung towards the Allies it was still a very dangerous occupation flying in Bomber Command. This is the guts of the story, flying with Harry Yates and his crew in one of the many Lancaster’s allotted to them through the 30 missions required to complete their tour of Ops.
I found this story truly amazing and it was so well told I was totally immersed in the narrative. I must admit it has been awhile since I have read such an interesting and captivating account of war in the air and I cannot imagine anyone who has an interesting in aerial warfare not being taken by this honest and enjoyable book.
Not once did I find the book bogging down in too much detail, not once did it flag or slow down in pace, even the author’s account of his training and instructional flights were full of interest, humour and occasional sadness. This is a great testament to the young crews who flew in Bomber Command doing a job without question that cost many their lives. Well done to the author!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lancaster
Excellent book thoroughly recommended as an extremely good insight of training and squadron life during the last war and what those young men experienced
Published 9 days ago by D. H. PRYDE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic, read it and it will give some insight into the bravery of Bomber Command
Published 13 days ago by Karl Bindemann
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great read
Published 15 days ago by Mwilcox
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story, very well written
Fantastic story, very well written, recommend it as an excellent read. I was sorry it had to end, thank you
Published 23 days ago by Eileen Lay
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
an interesting and thought-provoking book
Published 1 month ago by R. J. Hobby
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for anyone interested in Military History in the air.
An excellent book. The best account I have read of how it must have been for the young bomber crews in WW2. Highly recommended.
Published 1 month ago by John Barlow
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a good book,nice print size too.
How the author received his DFC is not revealed.
There are several abbreviations in the text which are not revealed, even in the index.
Published 2 months ago by john29
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping book.
The period toward the end of bomber command operations is very well documented, the author dedicated a lot to analyzing the difficulties and working on procedures, also interaction... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. David S. Ball
4.0 out of 5 stars lancasters
Liked it all everybody should read this felt as if I was there with these gallant boys what would we have done without them and their lancasters
Published 5 months ago by calawaydave
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving account of a close knit crew's bomber command tour
It may seem a strange way to describe an account of a WW2 Bomber Command's Lancaster tour of operations but this is a truly sensitive, beautifully written account of how a crew... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Grapher
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