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Thread: Beaufighter Boys (G Pitchfork, Grub Street 2019)

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    Default Beaufighter Boys (G Pitchfork, Grub Street 2019)

    Beaufighter Boys: True Tales of Those Who Flew Bristol's Mighty Twin G Pitchfork (Grub Street 2019)

    Air Commodore (ret'd) Graham Pitchfork MBE first began work on this book in 2002. Delayed by circumstances, Graham took up the task again in 2018 and it was published at last by Grub Street in July 2019.

    The reminiscences of Beaufighter crew are, for the most part, those shared with him back then and will be fresh to most readers. A few cases are extracts from published memoirs. While there are some familiar photos, many more are either less well-known from official sources or fresh, from personal collections. Printing & image techniques have advanced again in recent years, so the images are well-produced at appropriate sizes placed throughout.

    For 211 Squadron's oft-neglected part in the India-Burma theatre air war there are two terrific contributions:

    William E (Bill) Dickinson's 2002 recall of three Memorable Sorties in Burma gives a vivid account of bravery, skill and luck on operations. This chapter will be fresh to all readers.
    Sergeant and later Warrant Officer pilot of 211 Squadron from their re-forming in August 1943, Bill and his navigator Andy Chatterton survived to complete their tour of operations in late January 1945. I last heard from Bill in 2003: recent efforts to regain contact were unsuccessful. Following the publication of Beaufighter Boys, a friend of Bill’s contacted Graham to pass on the news of his death on 10 July 2019, a few days before the book launch on 13 July as part of Flying Legends 2019 at Duxford.
    See also: WE Dickinson http://www.211squadron.org/burma_quintet.html#Dickinson

    Dennis A Spencer's Looking Backwards Over Burma 1999 manuscript chapter on his completed 211 Squadron tour (as a Sgt and F/Sgt Nav/W on Beaufighter low level operations with pilot F/O Geoff Vardigans) makes a welcome re-appearance. Dennis' book of the same title was published by Woodfield in 2009, where it is still available for purchase at modest cost. Part of his ms chapter on navigation techniques at low level was included in the book, and included in entirety with my 211 Squadron narrative for him. Despite advanced dementia, Dennis remains well in care and reached 100 years of age in January 2020.
    See also: DA Spencer DFC http://www.211squadron.org/da_spencer.html

    In Beaufighter Boys, Graham has made another very fine contribution to RAF/RAAF history. Available from the usual places (Grub Street, Amazon, Booktopia, eg).

    Footnote
    I know and greatly respect Graham and his many RAF works. Although his efforts in this case have been slightly let down in publishing/copyediting by a number of typographical errors, this remains a fine book overall.

    Examples
    p13: Hercules "rotary engines" should be "radial engines"
    p17: "211 Squadron reformed in August 1944" should be "...reformed in August 1943"
    p163: "There does not appear to be any hard experience" should presumably be "any hard evidence"
    p178 "flew 57 operations over Burma" should be "...flew 51 operations..."

    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org
    Last edited by Don Clark; 11th February 2020 at 03:16.

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