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Flying, Fighting and Reflection: The Life of Battle of Britain Fighter Ace, Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC* AFC AE

Flying, Fighting and Reflection: The Life of Battle of Britain Fighter Ace, Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC* AFC AE


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This is the thrilling account of the last remaining Battle of Britain ace fighter pilot, Tom “Ginger” Neil. Neil was one of an elite band, nicknamed “The Few” by Winston Churchill, he flew Hurricanes during 141 combat missions in that battle and went on to command the first Spitfire XII squadron during 1942/43 as the RAF went on the offensive in north-west Europe.

In this, the only full account of Neil's life to be published in collaboration with his family, we learn how he became a poster boy for the war effort and how he credits his “sixth sense” for keeping him alive during the Second World War.

There was, however, one terrifyingly close brush with death, when in 1940 he had a mid-air collision with another Hurricane. With the rear section of his aircraft gone, the plane was out of control and hurtling to the ground, yet somehow he managed to bail out and miraculously survived with only a minor leg injury.

As well as RAF service during the Siege of Malta, Wing Commander Neil, who is now in his late nineties, also served with the Americans during the D-Day landings.

During his career, Neil was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses for the destruction of at least fourteen enemy aircraft, and was a successful test pilot after the war before commanding a jet fighter-reconnaissance squadron in Egypt's troubled Canal Zone during the 1950s for which he was awarded the Air Force Cross.

With contributions from the man himself, this book also looks at his life after the RAF and his career as a successful author. For military buffs and novices alike, it is a must-read account of a true war hero.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781784383909
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 11/16/2018
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Peter Jacobs served nearly 37 years in the RAF (1977-2013) as an air defence navigator, initially on the F4 Phantom and later on the Tornado F3. He has written twenty books including Daring Raids of World War Two: Heroic Land, Sea and Air Attacks (2015); Bomber Command: Airfields of Lincolnshire (2016) and The RAF in 100 Objects (2017).

Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon GCB CBE is former RAF fighter pilot and Chief of the Air Staff, as well as being the first President of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Foreword Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon xi

Acknowledgements xv

Thomas Francis Neil, 1920-2018 xvii

Introduction xix

1 Early Days 1

2 Flying Times 16

3 Preparing for War 25

4 249 Squadron 45

5 Into Battle 62

6 The Hardest Month 80

7 On the Offensive 104

8 Malta 122

9 A Rest from Ops 147

10 41 Squadron 158

11 The Americans 183

12 Victory at Last 205

13 Testing Times 212

14 208 Squadron 236

15 Moving On 255

16 The Author 270

17 On Reflection 281

Select Bibliography 294

Index 296

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