Heroes of Coastal Command...

 

...The RAF's Maritime War 1939-1945, from Frontline Books

 

Title: Heroes of Coastal Command

Author: Andrew D. Bird

Publisher: Frontline Books

ISBN: 978-1-5267i-069-7

 

This new book from author Andrew Bird tells a good mix of stories which do an excellent job in highlighting the work of Coastal Command aircrews during WW2. Each chapter focuses on a specific individual but actually goes further than that, by including their crewmates and other squadron members. The particular element of the book, rather than a simple chronology of events, it describes the people as individuals, their background, their lives, as well as their missions.

Some of the stories do have what I'll describe as a 'happy ending', when we hear how they survived the war and what their careers went on to, or in some cases, back to, before they volunteered for their war service. In other cases, there was no happy ending and they lost their lives for the service of their country. The aircraft they flew are equally varied, with Blenheims including the early fighter version, the Beaufighter and Torbeau variant, the Mosquito and heavily armed Tsetse Mosquito, Sunderland, Wellington and Catalina. Their missions are equally varied, from reconnaissance, anti-shipping attacks off the Norwegian and Danish coasts, Convoy Escorts, Air Sea Rescue, anti-submarine patrols, long distance ice monitoring flights, escort for Operation Chariot and even dropping a large French Tricoleur over Paris.

Amidst all this there are the many movements of both individuals and whole squadrons, training and more. As well as adding to the WW2 history of the RAF that goes beyond Fighter and Bomber Commands. Most of all, the level of research which has gone into it is not just about a mission history, but a useful reminder that aircrew were individual people, each with their own personal stories that went beyond their basic service record.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin