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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2006
''What are the losses on each raid?'
'They say five per cent.'
"Five per cent and we do thirty ops.' He considered this thoughtfully. 'We sort of end up owing something.'
I believe we owe a great debt to the brave boys of Bomber Command who knew they were unlikely to survive. This account from an Australian sergeant navigator tells you what it was like to fly over Germany from Lincolnshire, to kill and probably to die. The author's crew were the first in seven months to actually complete a thirty flight tour of operations from their airfield. In 1941 he had trained with twenty compatriots. 18 were destined for Bomber Command. At the end of the war 12 were dead and one a prisoner. It was, he says, an average group. I am ashamed that my country never gave the airmen of Bomber Command a campaign medal.
Here you really get a feel of what it was like to be so young with no more ambition that to reach your next short leave. Wartime romance is related and the discovery of the village his family came from and his ancestors' graves.
The first time my parents saw the house where I was to grow up, there was a Halifax bomber crashed outside. I played as a boy in the peaceful ruins of the disused former bomber airfield from which men like Charlwood had flown less than ten years before. A different world so well narrated in this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2008
In many personal accounts losses of other crews hardly get a mention (probably stemming from a defence mechanism at the time) but Charlwood recounts every one and their effect on him. This isn't about derring-do but sheer grinding courage to keep going.
His self doubt marks him as an ordinary mortal but the courage that he and all those in Bomber Command showed against impossible odds was extraordinary. How poorly we have served them since.
Quite simply the best account bar none.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2010
this book is sentimental to me as the author, Don charlwood was the pilot of the lancaster which my great uncle Frank Holmes was the rear gunner. all local history and true stories of the bravery off these men who were based at elsham wolds nr scunthorpe.regular visits to the barkley in scunthorpe [which is still there]for a dance night were made . maybee needed a bit of dutch courage. great read for locals or anyone interested in world war 2 history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2010
An excellent book that tells about the lives, loves, fears and sorties of the much-maligned men of Bomber Command in WWII. It is a shame on our national psyche that there is still no official statue to these brave men whose average age was late-teens/early 20s. So many of them gave their lives to preserve our way of life today that this book should be read by everyone and there should be a national outcry for a statue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2012
One of the most beautifully written war memoirs I have come across. Don Charlwood writes with modesty and feeling about his harrowing experiences as a Lancaster pilot during WWII. This a haunting evocation of wartime England and what it meant to be among those unbelievably courageous young men who served as aircrew in Bomber Command. I am astonished that this book has not gained wider fame. If you have any interest in or connection with the subject then read this book.
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on 31 July 2015
Beautifully written in a horrible time where guts and bravery was demanded as a matter of course Don Charlwood gives us a series of magical locations for a place of refuge and for a Lancaster bomber airbase in a beautiful locale but the dirty and dangerously violent business in hand the night bombing offensive over Germany dominated everyones lives. He watched his friends disappear and new men come and go like shadows. without substance ...this is a superbly human story based on this mans wartime life experiences.
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