With the outbreak of war Charles Gardner became one of the first BBC war correspondents and was posted to France to cover the RAF’s AASF (Advanced Air Strike Force). He made numerous broadcasts interviewing many fighter pilots after engagements with the Germans and recalling stories of raids, bomb attacks and eventually the Blitzkrieg when they all were evacuated from France. When he got home he wrote a book AASF which was one of the first books on the Second World War to be published.
In late 1940 he was commissioned in the RAF as a pilot and flew Catalina flying boats of Coastal Command. After support missions over the Atlantic protecting supply convoys from America, his squadron was deployed to Ceylon which was under threat from the Japanese navy. Gardner was at the controls when he was the first to sight the Japanese fleet and report back its position.
Gardner was later recruited by Lord Mountbatten, to help report the exploits of the British 14th Army in Burma. He both broadcast and filed countless reports of their astonishing bravery in beating the Japanese in jungle conditions and monsoon weather.
After the war, Gardner became the BBC air correspondent from 1946-1953. As such, he became known as ‘The Voice of the Air,’ witnessing and recording the greatest days in British aviation history.
But Perhaps he will best be remembered for his 1940 eyewitness account of an air battle over the English Channel when German dive bombers unsuccessfully attacked a British convoy but were driven off by RAF fighters. At the time it caused a national controversy. Some complained about his commentary ‘being like a football match,’ and not an air battle where men’s lives were at stake. That broadcast is still played frequently today.
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|Publisher:||Pen and Sword|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Robert Gardner, who is now retired, was appointed MBE in 2001.
Table of Contents
A Message from Richard Dimbleby viii
Chapter 1 Dog Fight Over the Channel 1
Chapter 2 Beginnings 7
Chapter 3 Dimbleby and Gardner 17
Chapter 4 Threat of War 29
Chapter 5 Off to War 37
Chapter 6 'Cobber' Kain and Pilots' Tales 51
Chapter 7 Visits, a Row and His Own Studio 57
Chapter 8 Blitzkrieg 69
Chapter 9 Sedan and the Last Days of France 81
Chapter 10 Blitzkrieg to Dunkirk 91
Chapter 11 A Controversy that Gripped the Nation 99
Chapter 12 Joining Up 105
Chapter 13 Life in the RAF 111
Chapter 14 Flying in the Battle of the Atlantic 119
Chapter 15 'The Most Dangerous Moment' 127
Chapter 16 End of 'Ops' - Broadcasting Begins 139
Chapter 17 The Forgotten Army 147
Chapter 18 Air Power and the Imphal Campaign 157
Chapter 19 The 'Rear Echelon' and Victory in Sight 163
Chapter 20 Build-up for Invasion of Japan 177
Chapter 21 Reflection on the Burma Campaign 185
Chapter 22 A Royal Secret 191
Chapter 23 The 'Voice of the Air' 197