[[ASIN:0904597873 RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War: 1941 v. 2]
Having heard of the sacrifice made by my great uncle (a pilot of a Bristol Blenheim who was shot down and killed at the age of 21 on 7th April 1941) I decided to purchase this book to see if it contained any information about him. It did. Not only was I was able to see the details of his death but also the name of the Luftwaffe officer who finished him off as his Blenheim crashed into the sea. I also found out that my great uncle had escaped death two months before when his Blenheim crash landed on return from an operation. His wireless operator had died in that crash.
Having done my research I was simply unable to put this book down.
Although the book is primarily a list of every aircraft lost in a particular year (giving the date of loss and serial number of the craft) it is utterly compelling and incredibly depressing. It is difficult to comprehend the scale of the loss of life.
As we know all to well from current conflicts any death is a tragedy but the sheer scale of the deaths of these young men is staggering. It is apparent that each night they went out (and often this was night after night) there was a very good chance they would not return. It is a testamant to their bravery that they must have known this as they climbed into their aircraft night after night. The statistics speak for themselves.
I would thoroughly recommend this book as a fascinating read.
With having built up an extensive data base on aircrew members who took part in both Bomber, Fighter, and Coastal Command flights during WWII, there were many gaps were not all of those mentioned had either their proper surname or more often than not their Christian names mentioned. As a result of these omissions there were often times when two surnames were identical, and also the initials of their names were also the same, making it impossible to often decide whether they were both the same person or was there an error in the authors work. As I work as a volunteer in my local heritage centre, where I am the Military Advisor, there have been instances where a visitor has asked if we had any information on someone, usually a long dead relative, who had possibly been in this area t some point in their service life, or perhaps their squadron or unit had been here, and the missing parts of some of the many jigsaws and puzzles presented to us can now be solved through the information that can be found in this massive book that lists the names of those who gave their lives so that the Nazi onslaught could be halted and then destroyed. Unfortunately there are still large gaps in the information available on aircrew who took part in WWII, with many having been injured or even managed to survive a crash without any injury when others on the crew might have suffered injury or death, so the search continues to fill in the gaps that provide the answer to some of the relatives who are seeking that little bit more information on their departed relative.
This volume in the series is, if nothing else , a stark reminder of just how many men lost their lives on operations whilst serving with Bomber Command. It's more a tool for budding researchers (professional or armchair) and the majority of the text is lists of names. There are some short extracts of text for reading , but it you want detailed accounts of what happened to each crew / aircraft then I suspect the other volumes in the series are more suitable (I'll be purschasing them soon).
The last in the long series of Bomber Command losses year by year by Bill Chorley. This book gives a roll of honour for each year of BC ops plus an overview of operations during that year. It include the commands training units and includes losses up to 1947 although the European war ended in May 1945. It must be remembered that the state of wartime emergency did not end until 1947. I have the rest of this series, and if you are like myself a serious reader of Bomber Command history this book is an essential addition to your bookase. Recommended.
Starting in 1939 with the first leaflet raids over Germany these volumes list the Aircraft and Crews lost in the defence of this Country. It is a sobering thought that 57,000 airman paid the ultimate price for our freedom. This volume is the roll of honour as as such is a tribute to those whos names it contains. W R Chorley has become the standard reference for all aviation historians as well as genealogists.
Bomber Harris was convinced that sustained bombing of Nazi Germany would win the war. He was wrong. The Germans had an almost unlimited supply of slave labour and could rebuild almost immediately any damage done, or move underground which they did. When the huge losses of bomber command became know, Harris was criticized and his tactics called into question. My Dad was in 235 squadron coastal command 1940-41 and was shot down twice but survived the war. I'm going to buy this book I would like to know more. "least we forget"
This is a classic of Military History, and part of an equally classic Series on the RAF in World War II. It scarcely needs any more reviews than have already been written! It will be a military history reference book for generations to come. W R Chorley has achieved an accuracy and completeness standard that has not to me knowledge ever been exceeded in military historical writing.