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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modest man, Extraordinary Experiences
Having read a few pilots' biographies it is easy to see these fall into a similar vein; namely signing-up, training, combat and the consequences from combat and escaping death (where many others did not).

This is a little different in that Brian Kingcome added more of his personal life as an overlay well before, during and well after his military flying days...
Published on 8 April 2008 by Darren H.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Willingness to Die
This is a real 'budget' publication, which shows very little respect for the content.
The binding began to fall apart as soon as I started opening the book and reading, so the first 25 or so pages are now completely detached. There seems to have been minimal proof reading undertaken, as there are regular printing errors as you proceed through the text. Finally, the...
Published on 6 Aug 2010 by BillB


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modest man, Extraordinary Experiences, 8 April 2008
By 
This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
Having read a few pilots' biographies it is easy to see these fall into a similar vein; namely signing-up, training, combat and the consequences from combat and escaping death (where many others did not).

This is a little different in that Brian Kingcome added more of his personal life as an overlay well before, during and well after his military flying days. The first line typifies this with the statement "Anyone looking for a chronological order of events won't find it here." It is therefore much the better for it, and it is an enjoyable read of a modest man.

Covering from his school days through well into his later business life, it is well presented with many anecdotes. It included his somewhat unlucky scrapes with cars which nearly ended his flying career before it had even started. The subsequent facial reconstruction gives a view into the early world of plastic surgery and Brian was an honorary "guinea pig" as a result.

It is very sad that the text was not fully finished at the time of his death in 1994 and this is noted in the foreword by Geoffrey Wellum and the editor, Peter Ford.

However, the Brian has done an excellent job of bringing his experiences to life - and this doesn't detract from the odd typo in the text. His story as laid out is a reminder of a world and a way of life far removed from today.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brian Kingcome "A Willingness to Die" by Mark Robinson, 13 Feb 2009
By 
Kevin Robinson "Mark Robinson" (Knutsford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
Very interesting book. Different from many WW II fighter pilot tales in two ways:

(1) Kingcome does not concentrate on the individual actions/kills that earned him the fighter ace accolades (he is very modest on this subject). Instead he concentrates on the bigger picture of the war and serving his country.

(2) Kingcome wrote to book in later life not immediately after WW II. Consequently when he describes life in the RAF and the 1930's and 40's he is able to describe how different things were then to now - the details are themselves interesting.

I would recommend this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read. Highly recommended., 16 Jan 2010
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This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
Very informative and very moving. I laughed and cried alternately all my way through. Probably my number 50 or so read of the genre, and definitely top range. If I had to pick only one, this would be it. Absolutely amazing that Kingcome had this eye for detail so many years in retrospect. However, either I am very rough reader or the quality of the binding is poor, as the pages started falling out at an early stage. Probably the latter - poor binding, since many paperbacks have survived my desert fatigue pockets in a more honourable manner. Nevertheless: Read it or you will regret!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I hated the title but loved the book, 28 Oct 2010
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This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
A Willingness to Die
Having read dozens of these 'last of the few' books, I nearly didn't buy this one because of the lurid title, but I did and I am glad that I did. A super read and since it dovetails in with several others, because most of the Battle of Britain Pilots knew one another, it is interesting comparing their many shared experiences. Thoroughly recommended.

TS
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 22 April 2010
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Dan Sorkin - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
The author's memoirs were brilliantly resurrected as a WW2 Fighter Pilot's diary of life in & out of combat. It is written with both grace & wit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the lot, 18 Aug 2014
By 
R. A. Fallows "Radio Man" (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
I have read a great many books of fighter pilots' exploits; of those a very few I rate as standing out well beyond the rest. When I first saw this book, I was captivated by its cover and title, but was not expecting it would offer such compelling reading. I couldn't put it down, yet read it in small amounts as I didn't want to finish it so quickly. I love the author's approach, which is rather like listening to one's father or granddad reminisce over a cup of tea; the story teller can digress at any moment, either forward or back in time. This is one of the reasons I enjoyed his stories. Another is that Kingcome gives as many facts and facets of a story as he can, so you are not left wondering what became of so-and-so, or pondering about any other details. There is near the end of the book an emotional passage where he reflects on the excitement of being a fighter pilot during 1940 which could be some author's over sentimental view, except that it isn't; it's the real view of a man who risked his life willingly and saw the deaths of others who did the same. It leaves the reader feeling somewhat as Shakespeare said in Henry We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
...and you are left feeling rather flat and dull and somewhat envious, but nevertheless inspired by such a great man's story.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Willingness to Die, 6 Aug 2010
This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
This is a real 'budget' publication, which shows very little respect for the content.
The binding began to fall apart as soon as I started opening the book and reading, so the first 25 or so pages are now completely detached. There seems to have been minimal proof reading undertaken, as there are regular printing errors as you proceed through the text. Finally, the numerous interesting photographs have not been reproduced on proper photo quality paper, but straight onto the same pages as the text, with the result that they are grey, grainy and indistinct.
I would have happily paid more for a good quality product.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very engaging read, 30 Jan 2011
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This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
A very engaging read. You begin to understand the author's laid back approach to life as reflected in the style of his writing. In common with another reviewer's comment it is a pity that BK didn't live long enough to enlarge on his time in the Desert air force as judging on the stories in earlier part of his book these would have been well worth reading. As a de-facto leader of 92 squadron during the Battle of Britain its interesting to fit the history of that squadron together in the light of other biographies most notably Geoffrey Wellum's `First Light', and Johnny Kent's `One of the Few'. I've read this twice and will probably read it again with the same enjoyment.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not reccomended, 16 Sep 2011
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This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
I had great expectations for it, since it came highly reccomended, but it did not live up to my expectations. Other reviewers describe Brian Kingcombe as modest, but I think this is a superficial reading, for to me, between the lines, he comes accross as a bit arrogant. But this is not the problem. The main issue is that the book contains by the end of the day very little information and eventually ends up boring. He can tell you once that on this or that date he went with his posh friends to this or that pub and they had a delightfully served dinner and that they all got jolly drunk before getting back to the base. But by the time he tells you this for the seventh time in the book, you have had enough of it. I read the first half looking forward to him getting "to the point" but he actually never did, so I ended up not finishing the book.I bought this book wanting to find out more about the RAF, the Battle of Britain or aerial combat in general in WW2, but this is really not the book for it. The book is about Brian Kingcomb himself, and to be honest, I was not interested in him or what he thinks about pre-marital sex or about today's TV standards...

Actually, one problem might have been that I read this book only one month after having read Denis Barnham's absolutely superb autobiography "Malta Spitfire Pilot". That one is such a FINE book that by comparison it probably made Kingcombe's book look worse that it actually is. But even when compared to Geoffrey Wellum's "First Light" or "Wing Leader" by Johnny Johnson, it does not make the mark either ( both titles also highly reccomended but in my opinion not as good as Barnham's account ).

Uh, by the way, since you happen to be reading this review,if you are into WW2 autobiographies from combat pilots, take a look at Vasily Emelianenko's "Red Star against the Svastika". Another superb book but with the added interest of having the story told from the uncommon perspective of a Soviet pilot instead of a Brit or an American, and also as seen by a ground attack pilot ( and not the ususal fighter pilot's story ).
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... interact as i was reading the book it was like i were there at the time, 4 July 2014
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This review is from: A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command (Paperback)
as ex raf myself i was able to interact as i was reading the book it was like i were there at the time,well written.
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A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command
A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command by Brian Kingcome (Paperback - 1 Sep 2007)
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