Squadron Airborne brings alive the actions of fighter pilots, ground staff, and auxiliary personnel at a fictional Spitfire fighter-plane squadron in September 1940.
Peter Stuyckes is a nineteen-year-old who has just finished his training as a pilot for England’s Royal Air Force (RAF) when he arrives at an aerodrome called Westhill near the town of Melford, England. There he joins an established squadron already in the thick of the fighting but with a less-than-stunning first flight in front of his new colleagues. Stuyckes doesn’t know it then, but he is to become part of what will be called the Battle of Britain, the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces.
In the midst of casualties and survivors, battle fatigue and botched landings, parachute escapes and pilots shot down during aerial battles, members of the ground crew hasten to repair the Spitfire planes that make it back, proudly tallying their pilots’ strikes. It all takes place along with romantic encounters in between, until the squadron prepares to leave for rest and refit at Lincolnshire, after which a new squadron will take their place.
Elleston Trevor, who was himself a member of the RAF, takes the reader into the action of one week during the Battle of Britain in this tense, exciting, and realistic story.
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“Young Pilot Officer Stuyckes (pronounced Stewks) has an unfortunate introduction to the base and the men when he flubs his first landing and is chaperoned in from his first operation but, with the pace accelerating from German attacks getting closer and closer, he measures up to the Squadron Leader, Mason’s, demands…[Along with] Trevor’s excellent reporting…there is besides the strong impress of the hardihood and dedication of those legendary ‘few.’ Good for an air-minded masculine audience.”