View Full Version : JF Hamlin "Bristol Beaufighter: The Full Story" (AB 2022)

Don Clark
15th September 2023, 00:18
Bristol Beaufighter: The Full Story JF Hamlin (Air Britain 2022)
A comprehensive account of the Beaufighter as an aircraft, in Squadron service, with individual aircraft fates by serial in the usual Air Britain style, 3 Appendixes (Bases, Unit codes, Index of fatalities/POWs), plus a battery of backmatter (Colour profiles art, Sources, Index).

In the case of 211 Squadron, marred by avoidable errors:
in the Sqn potted histories, a quite inaccurate count of the Squadron’s Rangoon Gaol deaths in captivity, vs
the App3 Index - better but still incl errors (eg Luing as PoW death, but his Nav White as death but as PoW omitted) plus
more than a few omissions and elisions in aircraft ids and histories (which for 211 Sqn, for example, the Sortie Reports in AIR 27/1305 to 27/1310 might have helped resolve, apart from personal records).

The author largely discounts web-site published data in these terms: "some websites have been useful...but others were found to contain obvious errors" though which of them were unreliable is left to the reader to find out.

To that end, the Sources section is equally unhelpful, comprising only
"Books which may be useful..." and
"Operational [sic! Operations] Record Book" UK National Archives refs
but listing no websites at all.

Even the sole website example singled out as "noteworthy" in the Preface, mentioned there by name, is ignored in the Sources: nowhere accorded the usual courtesy of a proper web citation (such as author/owner plus title and URL citation).

Whether for example Mr Hamlin found "obvious errors" in my own Beaufighter work (www.211squadron.org/bristol_beaufighter.htm), I am no more able to say than I am able to rebut or correct.

Don Clark
15th September 2023, 22:46
Just as virtually all original records are subject to loss, inconsistency and error, so too are published books, even the good, liable to the same problems.

While it is unfortunate that such mistakes arise, upon coming to notice it seems to me useful and necessary to make some record of them, in the hope of assisting later readers.

To that end, with a little revision, therefore included the above notes in my 211 Squadron site's Sources and further reading page here (http://www.211squadron.org/sources.html#HamlinBeaufighter).

Errol Martyn
16th September 2023, 00:45
Hello Don,
I too have found Mr Hamlin a less than reliable compiler of Air-Britain books. The last Hamlin tome I purchased was Air-Britain's history of 30 Squadron titled 'Flatout'. The early part, for instance, is full of misquoted text from the much earlier (and better) work about the squadron that was published in 1919 or 1920.

Don Clark
16th September 2023, 05:06
Good to hear from you, Errol!

Read your remarks about 30 Squadron and Hamlin's Flat Out with interest: had not been aware of the deficient mentions of the earlier work - though I had at some point at least heard of it, and had Flat Out on the shelf here for a good few years.

While there were brief interactions on ops in Greece for 211 Sqn and 30 Sqn, noted in the 211 Sqn record and personal accounts (my father, eg), those were sufficient to themselves in the 211 context. So on deciding to cut down my collection to the essentials several years ago, Flat Out was one of the many sent on to find new homes via the Lifeline Book Fair.

JF Hamlin Flat Out: The Story of 30 Squadron RAF (Air Britain 2002)
J Everidge: History of No.30 Squadron RAF: Egypt and Mesopotamia 1914 to 1919 (Macaire, Mould & Co, 1920/ reprint Naval & Military 2004 - numerous copies via bookfinder.com),