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on 1 September 1999
Very enjoyable WW2 autobiography, one of the best I have ever read. Well written from a 1st person viewpoint, it tells the story of a radar operator who was teamed with John Cunningham (a.k.a. "Cat's Eye's Cunningham") in the early war years. It also tells the story of the development of the night fighter and it's radar, the tactics and the personalities. C.F "Jimmy" Rawnsley is a writer, engineer and historian of a high order. As a team, Cunningham and Rawnsley destroyed the majority of Cunningham's 20+ night victories, mostly on Beaufighters, but also some in Mosquitos, and one or two in Blenheims. I loved this book.
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on 18 June 2003
I was delighted to see that this book is still available. I thought my old hardback might be one of only a few surviving copies. Jimmy Rawnsley tells a fascinating tale spanning the whole of the Second World War, with something for everyone. This is real-life heroism of the kind that people who grew up on 'Biggles' will enjoy... but there's also some technical insights for aircraft enthusiasts and those interested in early radar, and the whole is presented with enough humour to keep it entirely readable.
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on 5 April 2011
Going through some boxes the other day, I pulled out this book that I'd loved as a teenager, sat down and read nearly half of it in one sitting. There seem to be endless books extolling the heroics of "the few," piloting Hurricanes and Spitfires through Britain's open sunny skies in the summer of 1940. But what about their poor benighted night-time counterparts, flying old and under-gunned Bristol Blenheims in an attempt to intercept the Luftwaffe's bombing raids on Britain's industrial cities? As a grown-up in 2010, I struggle slightly with the forties'-era bravado and the slang - enemy aircraft are `customers' coming into the `shop' to be `served' - but this contrasts sharply with passages of real power and poetry describing the actual experience of flying at night; and also with the evident fact that for most of the time, it was frustrating, cold and bloody frightening.
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on 31 January 2006
A compelling and realistic appraisal of what it was like to be a radar operator in night fighters. The author adds a freshness and honesty to this record of his experiences and exploits. If you want to know what it was like, to be behind an enemy bomber, in the dark, this book tells you. An excellent book for those with an interest in this aspect of aviation history.
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on 18 October 2014
Absolutely superb account from one of the pioneers of RAF aerial night fighting. The boys in the back, of which 'Jimmy' Rawnsley was one, made it possible for the pilots of the night fighters to intercept successfully in the dark. All great, brave men. Highly recommended!
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on 6 December 2013
Great book about a successful nightfighter gunner / radar operator, and the trials and tribulations at the start of airborne radar-based warfare. Highly recommended for anyone interested in WW2 technology and operations.
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on 16 December 2014
Excellent reading.
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