View Full Version : Blood, Sweat and Courage, 41 Squadron RAF, 1939-1942

Steve Brew
10th January 2015, 00:26
RAF Coningsby’s 41(R) Squadron is one of the Royal Air Force’s oldest extant squadrons. It will celebrate its Centenary in 2016. The unit has seen service from World War I, through Policing Duties in Aden in the 1930s, throughout World War II, and more recently in the First Gulf War and Yugoslavia.

‘Blood, Sweat and Courage’, by 41 Squadron Historian Steve Brew, is a detailed account of this gallant Squadron’s wartime activity between September 1939 and July 1942. The book complements its sister volume, ‘Blood, Sweat and Valour’ (Fonthill, 2012), which examines the unit between August 1942 and May 1945.

The first volume was hailed as “one of the finest unit histories of modern times”. Brew’s much anticipated second volume, ‘Blood, Sweat and Courage’, was released in December 2014.

The book recounts the unit’s role within battles, operations, offensives and larger strategies, and details experiences made by the pilots and ground crews participating in them. The work lends a strong emphasis to the men who earned the enviable reputation the Squadron still enjoys today.

Over 960 pages, Brew describes 41 Squadron’s courageous actions over Dunkirk and during the Battle of Britain, its offensive operations over the Continent and the English Channel, its defensive activity against the Luftwaffe’s tip-and-run raids on the south coast, and its planned deployment to Russia.

‘Blood, Sweat and Courage’ evokes the feeling of the period, portraying not only a factual account but also one that captures the colour of life on a Second World War fighter squadron, with a balance between material of a documentary nature and narrative action, intertwining fact with personal recollections of events, serious events with humour, and sobering statistics with poignant after-thought.

The Squadron’s actions are often revealed for the first time, through records that have previously not been available. The author has drawn heavily on unpublished primary sources, including a large number of logbooks, interviews and personal accounts.

41 Squadron’s own archive was also made exclusively available to Brew. “This is therefore a unique repository that is being revealed for the first time”, stated Gp Capt Richard Davies, who commanded 41 Squadron from November 2009 to March 2012.

‘Blood, Sweat and Courage’ and ‘Blood, Sweat and Valour’ include biographies of all 325 of 41 Squadron’s World War II pilots. 214 men (66%) were drawn from the United Kingdom, 81 (25%) from the Commonwealth, 22 (7%) from the Continent and Éire, seven from the Americas and one from the Middle East.

Flying Spitfires throughout the War, 41 Squadron’s pilots claimed 200 aircraft destroyed in the air and one on the ground, 61 aircraft probably destroyed in the air, 109 aircraft damaged in the air and 22 on the ground, and 53 V1 flying bombs destroyed and one damaged. Countless ground targets were also destroyed or damaged.

The pilots were awarded three DSOs, 21 DFCs, one DFM and one Mention in Despatches for their World War II service. Sixty-four pilots were killed, at least 56 sustained wounds or injuries, and another 21 became Prisoners of War. These figures equate to a total casualty rate of approximately 41.5%.

Subtitle: 41 Squadron RAF, 1939-1942
Author: Steve Brew
Pages: 960
Pictures: Over 350 B&W images, plus sketches, aircraft profiles, maps and tables
Cover: Hard cover with dust jacket
Publisher: Fonthill Media (www.fonthillmedia.com)
ISBN: 978-1-78155-296-4
Price: GBP£35.00 / USD$50.00
Available: Worldwide

For further information, please see: http://brew.clients.ch/bsc.htm