Review by John Baxter
Itís difficult to think of RAF Bomber Command in World War Two without thinking almost primarily of the Avro Lancaster. I usually would not have considered this book for review but when Neil said to take it, I agreed. A new challenge, I thought. And a good one.
Itís letter size, with stiff card covers and within the 224 pages, there are approximately 200 black and white photographs of aircraft and crews. Each aircraft is documented over three or four pages. This takes the form of where it was manufactured, serial number, squadron issue and the crew. Anecdotal information then follows and the Ďchapterí is concluded with a list of the ops flown Ė destination, date, including time out and time back, crew for the mission, and the squadrons in which the Lanc flew during its RAF/RAAF/RCAF service.
Now, itís not for everyone, Iíll admit but itís a very nicely produced book covering wartime exploits without fuss or drama Ė although thereís some of that within the anecdotes. It may serve more as a reference book than a Ďreading for pleasureí publication, however, itís very worthwhile as I can think of no other book covering any aircraft type that operated over one hundred missions - WWII or otherwise.
Norman Franks is a well known RAF author and thereís a heap of research gone into this, he readily admits. I found it enticing in its narrative and an easy read. The opening introductory pages themselves are quite revealing and extremely informative in a general sense. Thereís statistics within and facts aplenty but not an overwhelming mass of them to become tedious. In all, a fine book worthy of a spot in my library.
Iíd suggest that it is a very good book for any World War II aviation enthusiast, and especially an Avro Lancaster devotee, at a very competitive price. It is available from Hylandís Bookshop in Melbourne www.hylandsbookshop.com.au or 03 9654 7448 for about $35.
Many thanks to Neil McKellar of Hylands Bookshop for the review copy.