During World War II, Canada trained tens of thousands of airmen under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Those selected for Bomber Command operations went on to rain devastation upon the Third Reich in the great air battles over Europe, but their losses were high.
German fighters and anti-aircraft guns took a terrifying toll. The chances of surviving a tour of duty as a bomber crew were almost nil.
Murray Peden's story of his training in Canada and England, and his crew's operations on Stirlings and Flying Fortresses with 214 Squadron, has been hailed as a classic of war literature. It is a fine blend of the excitement, humour, and tragedy of that eventful era.
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One of the finest Bomber Command memoires.
No but only because the narrator was hopelessly amateur. He mispronounced much and indulged in malapropisms. His attempts at accents detracted from the text, which is beautifully written, graphic, funny and tragic in equal measure. The author brings out the danger, the fortitude of the crews and the spirit which permeated Bomber Command. A worthy tribute in particular to those brave airmen who went to war in the Short Stirling, a much maligned aircraft but an aircraft with a good reputation amongst those who mastered it on operations.
Too many to mention but the description of the author's trip to Gelsenkirchen, for which he won a well deserve DFC, stands out. Posterity is fortunate that Murray Peden has chosen to record his stellar career as a bomber captain and pilot in such lively, sensitive and graphic words.
His utter ignorance of the subject, his cringing attempts at accents, his comical mispronunciations and malapropisms. Some examples with the correct version in brackets: Startishall (Stradishall), Bury Street Edmonds (Bury Saint Edmonds), Extractor (Exactor), St Neets (St Neots), Reeding (Reading), Coop (Co-op), Coop (Coupe), N.A. A.F.I (naafi - and all the other abbreviations, particularly ranks, which should have been pronounced in full not spelt), Jacowbeen (Jacobean), practisable (practicable) and worst of all, mispronouncing Air Commodore Johnny Fauquier's surname such that it resembled the four letter F-word. This was to show a disprespect for the text. Why does Audible use actors, who inevitably have little sympathy for military subjects, when a knowledgeable expert would be true to the text and impart a sympathetic understanding.
I still rate it one of the finest aircrew memoirs and I've read or listened to most. A pity Salerno didn't do it justice but this can be overlooked in deference to Murray Peden.
Truly outstanding story