Its taken me a few months to get round to reading this fine book As soon as I started reading it I was back at Bourn on that dark damp foggy night, its difficult to put into words the atmosphere one felt in the very early hours of the Friday morning when the Bombers were due to return. I remember standing at our dispersal point waiting and waiting, you could hear the drone of the Lancasters engines as they circled trying to find a gap in the fog to get down, and for so many, time ran out as the fuel in their tanks diminished to zero. Richard Knott describes everything so well in his book. I can only relate to 97 squadron as we lost so many wonderful young guys, it was the squadrons worst night, not through enemy action, but lousy British weather and bad weather prediction by whom I know not..What this book reminded me of was the bravery of these young aircrews. Names come back to me with clarity and some of those who managed to get down were to lose their lives very shortly afterwards on similar raids to Berlin. I was ground crew, a flight mechanic, these guys although of higher rank than me were friends, and many of my friends who were ground crew shed many tears that night.We mixed well with our aircrews, trouble was we would just get to know them well, and then suddenly they were gone, and a day or two later you were introduced to a new young crew.---how long would they last--that was the question. In most cases, not very long. I recommend this book. When I'm asked, what period of your life was the best. This book is the answer. I learnt trust,comeradeship and loyalty AND I learnt about sadness.
Richard Knott's book on that the tragic events back in 1943 `feels right' I suspect that the huge amount of research that went in to this title was a labour of love. The style of writing will appeal to both those who have an interest in Bomber Command as well as a wider readership. In several of the chapters the reader is put in the position of those whose lives were affected and in many cases lost on that black night. The biggest enemy that night was not the Luftwaffe but the British weather. The author not only researched the book by conventional means and the interviewing of survivors but visited the locations concerned and by doing so has given the reader the right feel of what it was like at the time. Both well illustrated and written I would not hesitate to recommend this book. A fitting tribute to those young men whom Bomber Harris referred to as his `Old Lags' who made the final sacrifice not over Germany but so close to Home. Martin Foley
A very well written book and gives an excellent insight as to how a tragic chain of events leading up to this event which could have been so easily avoided.The reader is able to place him or herself in the mind and footsteps of the author as he recounts the information. Very informative and compelling reading
Found the book so interesting, as my father was returned from Sweden after his plane was damaged, and he wasn't fit enough to return to flying when repatriated. His pilot, who survived with him, came back from Sweden and returned to 460 Squadron. His was one of the planes lost that night, crashing in fog, and all crew killed. He was 21 years old and from .Australia. It is so sad that Fido did not arrive in time to save many young men who were returning from bombing missions. Tragic what happenend. I remain forever grateful for the sacrifice of so many brave young men, who willingly fought for our freedom
The two previous reviews really say it all, but I had to add a comment. Jennie Gray's earlier 'Fire By Night' told the tale of just one aircraft lost on this awful night, and now this book is a worthy companion volume ; telling as it does the full story. Richard Knott's book is a masterpiece of personal research with many rare photos and documents included. The story of Bomber Command in WWII is a huge subject - by focusing on the events of just one night, Mr Knott helps us understand the dangers and terrors faced by those young men.
A lot of detail that I found very interesting, a lot of info on the day to day problems of flying a bomber and about the airfields they flew from, I was born in Lincoln, which is known as bomber county, and as a child can remember the noise of the bombers coming over or near to my house so can relate to a lot that is in the book, I also belong to the Lancaster Association so found this book a plus to my other books on Bomber Command.
Particularly interesting for me as we lost a young relation on "Black Thursday" crashing at Bourn, Cambridgeshire, along with many others on that terrible night of dense fog. Very moving as the author visits the old air bases and the graves.