Flying for Freedom: The Allied Air Forces in the RAF 1939-45

Overview

After the Dunkirk debacle in May 1940 Britain's primary weapon of defense was her air force. The exploits of the RAF’s bomber crews and fighter pilots featured almost nightly on the radio and in the cinema newreels; the men themselves were the objects of great admiration and respect. Yet, how many of these brave airmen were not British nationals? During World War II, exiled airmen from six occupied countries in Europe flew from British soil, fighting in or alongside the squadrons of the RAF; each had a burning ...

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Flying for Freedom: The Allied Air Forces in the RAF 1939-45

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Overview

After the Dunkirk debacle in May 1940 Britain's primary weapon of defense was her air force. The exploits of the RAF’s bomber crews and fighter pilots featured almost nightly on the radio and in the cinema newreels; the men themselves were the objects of great admiration and respect. Yet, how many of these brave airmen were not British nationals? During World War II, exiled airmen from six occupied countries in Europe flew from British soil, fighting in or alongside the squadrons of the RAF; each had a burning desire to strike back at the cruel regime that had so ruthlessly crushed his homeland. At the political level, the exiled governments were keen for their country’s active service arms to remain independent, but the RAF had different ideas. Many influential sections of the Air Ministry avoided making firm commitments to their allies and considered these new reinforcements to have been thrust upon them. This book explores these courageous and often undervalued men, who were caught up in a web of political argument.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780752459981
  • Publisher: The History Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Brown is lecturer and staff governor at Selby College, Yorkshire. He is passionate about the history of the Battle of Britain and this book stems from years of research and enthusiasm.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vi

Acknowledgements vii

Abbreviations ix

1 The Unexpected Allies 1

2 Poles and Czechs 25

3 Czechs and Poles 89

4 The Free French 148

5 The Norwegians 180

6 The Belgians and the Dutch 199

7 Conclusion 221

Appendix: Allied Air Strengths, 1940-44 232

Bibliography 233

Index 239

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