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An RAF fighter pilot's story of the Battle of Britain
on 16 April 2013
I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone interested in the story of the RAF in the Second World War. It is written modestly but describes the fighter pilot's life very well. With a little discussion of the immediate pre-war period first, it describes Tom Neil's early career, learning to fly and going into operational service. He flies Spitfires briefly but, mainly, Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain. He is not operating in the most heavily-pressed 11 Group area at first but his accounts of wartime flying in 12 and 10 Groups are gripping and engaging. He moved to North Weald in 11 Group in September 1940 where the pace of operations steps up to an exhausting level and was there for the climax of the Battle.
There are many fascinating descriptions of some of the "personalities" of the Battle. His own achievements are considerable and he wins the DFC for some of these. This book ends its coverage in December 1940 but Neil continued in RAF service to the end of the war and is now one of the few surviving Battle of Britain veterans. This is a well-written account and well worth reading.