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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into Bomber Command, 14 Nov 2012
This review is from: Men Of Air: The Doomed Youth Of Bomber Command (Bomber War Trilogy 2) (Paperback)
This is a very detailed and well considered account of the lives of the aircrew in bomber command. The research is impressive and the author is clearly a gifted writer. One aspect that I find frustrating in this book as with many other histories on bomber command is the lack of recognition of airmen from Rhodesia. The author does not even refer to 44 Squadron by its proper name, 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron. While this squadron was by no means only manned by Rhodesians they accounted for nearly 50% of the pilots and crew at any point in time and many of the ground crew. In early 1944 of the commander of the squadron was an ex-school teacher from Gwelo in the midlands of Rhodesia. On page 9 the author acknowledges the contribution of Eire and the Commonwealth countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and 'a few from South Africa', but the 2,409 Rhodesian airmen who served in World War II are ignored. Of these 697 (29%) never returned. Rhodesia lost more men per capita than any other Commonwealth country. It is difficult to understand why the author would make such a pointed omission.
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Initial post: 17 Aug 2014 21:45:37 BDT
A. R. Jacubs says:
The answer to your most just complaint Daryl Sahll is that the mere mention of the word Rhodesia today is sufficient to banish the article or even more so the book to the dustbin. It is a dirty word that conjures up black people being subjugated and treated abominably by their white masters. Not as today where the occupants of that country are free and well looked after by their compassionate president Mr Robert Mugabe. Had those wonderful airmen you speak of been black in colour then they would be lauded in many books. We must remember too the Battle of Britain pilots that also came from Rhodesia and formed their own fighter squadron. I had relations in Gwelo and I could fill a book about this subject but if I did it would go straight to the bin and I would probably be arrested as a racist. However I thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of those of us so interested in the bravest of men - those in bomber command regardless of where they came from. We owe them our freedom and for the certain shortening of the war by up to a year. They were all we had in those dark days to fight with - I remember the blitz and the night after night in the air-raid shelter. I remember too both the BBC news and my father reading to me about our raids on Germany. Even as a ten year old boy I rejoiced in the knowledge we were hitting them back. Although we fought for freedom and succeeded I fear many countries lost theirs in the years following WW2. I wish you well sir.
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