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Review for Spitfire! The Full Story of a Unique Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron

Author/Director : Dilip Sarkar

Format : Book

A really excellent, detailed, comprehensive and moving history of 19 Squadron, RAF during the Second World War. It begins pre-war with their delivery of the early Spitfires (the first operational RAF squadron to get them) but follows them throughout their service during Dunkirk, and the Battle of Britain and after. 19 Squadron was based at Duxford, as part of 12 Group, and the book doesn't shy away from the controversy over the "Big Wing" concept, and the friction with 11 Group defending Kent and the south east. It also doesn't shrink from criticising Douglas Bader and his somewhat personal attitude towards fighter combat, diverging from that of his more senior officers.
The book sets the leadership of Sqn Ldr Brian Lane front and centre of the account, and you come away with a good impression of what it might have been like to have been led by him into battle. I recently took a trip to the IWM at Duxford and was able to walk around some of the aircraft, hangars, ops room and other buildings that would have been familiar to Sqn Ldr Lane and his colleagues. It was very moving, and much of that was thanks to this book.
Very much recommended

Published by : Air World, 2019
ISBN : 978 1 52673 281 1

Review last updated : 2020-12-05 18:36:17

See also : other "World War 2" reviews