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A personal view of various wartime/airmen/airfield books that are available, and some that are not.
Details on how you can purchase the revised Harrowbeer history book are on the latest news page.

Mission Accomplished
by Frank Mares DFM

Originally published in Czechoslovakia, and now updated and reprinted in English, this book tells the story of how Frank Mares escaped from Czechoslovakia after the German occupation and made his way to England via France and joined the RAF. He flew many sorties and was decorated with the DFM and Czech War Medal in 1942.

Personal comment: Having read the proofs, I'm a bit biased but this is a cracking good book that you won't want to put down

Now sold out but may be available on-line

Supermarine Spitfire
Owners Workshop Manual

Haynes have been producing car manuals since the year dot! I kept my trusty Triumph Herald going with the help of one their manuals! Now I'm never going to own a real Spitfire, but this book gives an idea of what's involved with owning/restoring/flying one. If you want to know about the nuts and bolts of a Spitfire, this is a 'must read'. There is a Lancaster manual too which is very good. However the one for the ME109 is a slight disappointment.

Portrait of a Legend
by Leo Mckinstry

This book got rave reviews around Christmas time. I have now finished reading it (Feb 2008) and it is an excellent book. The story behind the Spitfire is a rivetting read and it's amazing to think the whole project was very nearly scrapped because of the problems with building the aircraft! Leo Mckinstry must have spent hours and hours trawling through piles of documents to get all the information he has packed into this book. A minor niggle is that occasionally it gets bogged down with descriptions by pilots who flew the aircraft but don't let that stop you reading it.

Six Crashes Later
The story of a Fighter Pilot
Derek Leyland Stevenson DFC

It's a while since I read this book but found it very interesting.

First Light
Geoffrey Wellum

This was recommended to me by a friend. What a book!
The operational descriptions left me exhausted!

Update Nov 2010 ~ Recently turned into an excellent TV Drama by the BBC.

The battle for the code
Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

I have always had an interest in the story of the Enigma machine. This book is a very very thorough account of the efforts of the code breakers right from before the war. The Author also tries to explain the theory behind the code breaking process and how the 'bombes' worked. Nope! I still don't fully understand how they did it!

A visit to Bletchley Park is also thoroughly recommended!

Other recommended books

"Fighter Boys" & "Bomber Boys" by Patrick Bishop

I found the first of these very difficult to get into but persevered and then found I couldn't put it down! An extremely fascinating book on the lives of fighter pilots. Bomber Boys wasn't quite as rivetting but a very interesting read never the less. Both books highly recommended.

"Fighter" by Len Deighton

A famous book which shouldn't need any introduction from me. Just get a copy and read it!

"The Longest Battle" by Richard Hough
A detailed history of Naval Warfare during WWII.

OK...not about the RAF obviously but I have always had an interest in Naval Warfare as well. Again, this is an extremely detailed book full of detailed descriptions about sea battles during WWII. A must-read book!

"Spitfire Women of World War II" by Giles Whittell

Not sure what I was expecting from this book, but it's a collection of potted biographies of some of the ladies who signed up with the Air Transport (ATA) during WWII.

"Spitfire - The Biography" by Jonathan Glancey

I thought, "Oh No! Not another Spitfire book!" but was pleasently surprised. This book sits quite happily alongside Leo McKinstry's and if you buy one, buy the other! It has lots of technical detail in the back about Spitifre Marks as well as comparisons with many other WWII fighters from around the world.

"Another Kind of Courage" by Norman Franks

The story of air sea rescue during the war. It has some tales from 276 Sqdn at Harrowbeer but most tales are from the south-east are. The book is probably out of print but can be found on Amazon (May 2009).

"Lancaster" by Leo McKinstry

Subtitled " The Second World War's Greatest Bomber" this is a detailed account of the birth of the Lancaster, together
with a lengthy narrative on the bomber offensive during WWII. There are lots of anecdotes from aircrew and descriptions
of some of the famous raids, such as the 'Dambusters'.