on 29 July 2014
This deserves to become a classic along with The Last Enemy. This is a wonderful page turner of a book that will take you into the cockpit through some of the hardest fighting in the Battle of France. Alastair Panton DFC was a Blenheim pilot who cared deeply about his crew, suffering several times being shot down and rescuing these men. This manuscript was found in a hidden place and his grand-daughter, Victoria, has done a wonderful job in bringing this rare account to life. Alastair writes with deep feeling, great prose and a skill rarely found in books of this nature;It will appeal to those interested in tales of heroism, adversity and comradeship as well as to lovers of well written, descriptive tales of a time long past, and of a forgotten people of France, before the Occupation . The book`s real appeal is how well written it is. It`s sheer honesty about the reality of war, it`s effects on people and life in a Prison of war camp sharing tales of escape attempts, humour and personalities will leave you wanting a sequel. Sadly, Air Commodore Alastair Panton DFC passed away some time ago and luckily for us, his spirit lives on, soaring aloft, set free at last by this wonderful book, edited by his Granddaughter Victoria Panton-Bacon. I knew Alastair in the 1980s;He owned a marvellous bookshop finding me many out of print classic books. This book deserves it`s place in my shelves, and will, I hope find it`s way into your heart too. Paul Davies (Battle of Britain Historical Society)
on 27 November 2014
This is a great memoir, whose prose and style tells us as much about the moral qualities of the writer as does his narrative. The approach is honest and understated, but pulls no punches. Told without sensationalism, these are nevertheless dramatic and sensational events. Alastair Panton's attention to detail and engagement with his feelings at that time bring the reader right into his story, evoking the fragile sense of that summer in France before and during the German invasion. The Battle of France is a story of defeat, but includes great heroism and, of course, the Dunkirk evacuation, which turned that defeat into a new beginning. Alastair Panton's involvement in all of this was intense, and gives a real flavour of what was happening at the time. An interesting slant is that Panton was a reconnaissance pilot, so he therefore saw the German build-up and advance westward with his own eyes before almost everyone else. Alastair Panton's granddaughter has done a beautiful job of editing. Her introduction is touching and so, I am sure you will find, is this book. Highly recommended.
on 14 April 2015
I was born near to London at the start of WW2 and many of my adult relatives were involved in one capacity or other - the Armed Forces, Hospital Nursing or voluntary organisations. I feel I was in it from the start! At grammar school I was in the (compulsory) Cadet Force. I have been interested in the courses life took for everyone as a result of war and have read quite a few books on peoples' experiences at the time and ever since.
'Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer' is a superb account, co-written by members of a family, of the actual experience of one of its senior members. It tells, in very clear expression, of what was, what is and what might have been.
I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in human interaction; and the effects of both conflict between nations and the love and support shown by people for each other in the unexpected chapters of life.
on 11 April 2015
One of the most stimulating, exciting, inspirational books that I have ever read. If the author considers himself a failure, heaven help the rest of us. This is the retrospective diary of a pilot in the RAF during the battle of France in 1940 during World War II. The Blenheim in the title is a slow flying bomber that is used mainly for photographing enemy positions during the war in France. The author was the pilot who due to the plane's lack of speed was vulnerable to attack by enemy aircraft. Shot down four times this amazing man was eventually taken POW. The feel that this is happening to him as you read is amazing. Stand up and salute this man, his colleagues, and the men and women who served Britain so well between 1939 and 1945. We shall not see their like again.
on 9 January 2015
This is an excellent well written and researched book.
Both Alastair Panton’s original memoirs and his granddaughter Victoria’s researched material are informative and the format is easy to read.
The background from Alastair’s family and the people he served with give further insight into the Battle of France and the people who were involved both on the ground and in the air.
Alastair began his association with the Bristol Blenheim, an aircraft he regarded as a friend and on several occasions his saviour, flying the short nosed version until his Squadron were re-equipped with the Mark IV.
If you want to read a book which will keep you enthralled and informed from beginning to end you would be hard pressed to find better.