Barker, Ralph.


1st ed., 1978. 207 pp., photo-plates. D.j., 22 x 14cm. Slight lean to front cover o/w FINE. After the Battle of Britain Hitler proclaimed that Britain would be bombed and starved into submission and the process had already begun. In the war at sea he had introduced the long-range Focke-Wulf Condors, manned by an elite corps of German airmen who roamed far out into the Atlantic beyond the range of Britain’s shore-based fighters, to sink Allied ships almost at will. Churchill demanded an antidote, however desperate. Thus were born the expendable fighters, launched in mid-ocean by catapult from the foredecks of specially adapted merchant ships, to which they could not return. The machines used were mainly Hurricanes; their outstandingly courageous pilots were volunteers – RAF men, many of them veterans of the Battle of Britain, and members of the Fleet Air Arm. All these men knew that after a combat, if they ditched or baled out successfully, they stood a chance of being picked up by an escort vessel, but all were aware that, failing this, they had bought a one-way ticket. This is the story of Britain’s ‘suicide’ pilots and their aircraft.

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