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4.8 out of 5 stars33
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 22 October 2014
There are really only three eye- witness accounts of Lancaster operations that avoid the "line - shooting" prevalent in some immediate post war accounts. I think The first is Jack Currie's remarkable "Lancaster Target" , the Miles Tripp's "The Eighth Passenger" and perhaps ahead of both , "No moon tonight". In my view , all three had the benefit of time elapsing between active service and setting down their memoir.
I read this book 25 years ago and have read it many times since. It inspired me( for the first time) to seek out Elsham Wolds, the airfield from which 103 Sqdn. flew, since which time , I have sought out and visited what remains of some 80% of the stations used by the fighting groups. The drama of the events captured here is far more real and intense than most works of fiction. Whilst it is an outstanding reminder of the sacrifice of all these brave men, in its' lyrical humanity it transcends the genre. It is a book that will stay with each and every reader forever.
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on 7 December 2014
I bought this book to try to understand how heroes feel! I still don't, but, having read this book I now know how the author felt. An excellent and well written account about a specific bunch of "colonials" (meant with love and gratitude) who gave up everything in their homeland to fight and in many, many, cases die for England against a terrible all conquering enemy. We owe these and thousands of like minded heroes a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. Obviously, the author has a natural talent for writing which makes the whole thing logical and readable, but, the detail of flying in a Lancaster are up there with watching The Dambusters in terms of visual context. I cannot stress how much you should read this book, not, once but twice probably just to feel the anguish and the cold loneliness of flying over enemy territory not knowing what might happen next. Please read and enjoy this book.
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on 16 January 2013
This is a good book but one which ultimately left me wanting a bit more. I have read a lot on this subject and Don Charlwood has a remarkable story to tell, so the potential for something new was considerable. Unfortunately, to me the story (well written though it certainly is)feels a bit skimmed over. I think it is a literary trait for people from both war years to write in an unpretentious, literal style - something that I suspect reflects the attitudes they were forced to adopt in order to get through their ordeals - but I was hoping for a bit more insight into how it feels over the target, or what was going through his mind on the last op, especially when they touched down. This certainly isn't excluded, but given the assertions on the book's cover, I was disappointed not to get a bit closer to the emotions and thoughts of someone who experienced the unimaginable.
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on 28 July 2014
I've read lots of these accounts, but this is the one. The best. Don has an amazing way of taking you there, introducing you to the desperation, the hopelessness and the loss, yet he writes in the style of a novel, besides the grim, there is the camaraderie, the romance, the brotherhood, the spirit and at times, the wider view. The incredible thing about this story in common with several others, is that, there is a sheer desperation to finish the 30 missions - its their total focus, the unobtainable. Having done it (and Don's crew were the first in 9 months to manage it in their squadron), they immediately turn their minds to volunteering for a second tour, its like they become addicted to the fatal danger, like a gambling addiction, truly amazing and beyond comprehension. This book gives the clearest insight of all into it. Truly 5 star and brilliant.
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on 1 May 2010
This book is a testament to the sacrifice made by men of different Commonwealth nations aswell as those of Great Britain.
It is essential reading for those wishing to study the history of warfare; putting it into it's proper perspective and revealing the utter madness of War.
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on 29 January 2014
This is one of the best aviation autobiographies I have yet to read. Don Charlwood was a navigator in 103 squadron in the winter of 1942 and his was the first crew in 103 to finish a tour of duty in a period of over 7 months. During that time he had to watch all those around him fail to return. This book brings home the true horrors that the crews of bomber command had to face, day in day out. This book isn't full of combat although there are some superb descriptions of raid. It focuses more on the humanity of war and the various characters around him. Reading this book helped to give me a better idea of how these men were able to cope with such terrible odds. This is a very moving book and one I would recommend to anyone.
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on 20 July 2014
I came across a reference to this book when idly reading about the remains of an airfield just south of the Humber bridge that I would often pass. It is a marvellous account of both the human story and the history of life of an airman through recruitment, training and operations. It gives a particularly good account of life (and death) in Bomber Command during the earlier years of the war, when the aircraft were woefully inadequate in performance and numbers. The increasing efficiency and size of Bomber Command through the war is well recounted. The portraits of the crew members are particularly lifelike, as are the accounts of the landscape of the North Lincolnshire wolds. A moving and fascinating account.
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on 3 October 2013
Don Charlwood comes across as an extremely thoughtful & sensitive man, I was left feeling great respect for him. I bought this book because my Uncle was shot down in 1943 serving as flight engineer in 467 Sqn & I wanted to discover more about life in the RAF at that time. Don Charlwood describes the relentless loss of life with feeling but no sentiment, something I think typical of that era & all the more emotive as a result. I can't recommend this book highly enough. I bought it with "Lancaster Target" by Jack Currie at the same time & the two books work very well together reflecting the many different characters & their reactions to service that made up the RAF at that extraordinary time. Buy both!
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on 5 January 2008
This was bought has a christmas present and the recipient had read it by boxing day. They thoroughly enjoyed the account and felt it was excellently written and gave them a great insight into real life during those times
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on 10 January 2010
I bought this book for my husband for Christmas and he started reading it straight away. He said it was an excellent book, a very good read.
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