Bombs Away, Martin W. Bowman

Bombs Away, Martin W. Bowman

Dramatic First-Hand Accounts of British and Commonwealth Bomber Aircrew in WWII

This book contains twenty-one chapters filled with first-hand accounts from the RAF's bomber war during the Second World War, covering a very wide range of topics. The main bomber war is covered in some detail, from the early limited offensive against German warships at sea of 1939 to the massive raids of 1944 and 1945 that devastated so many German cities. A wide range of other topics are also covered, including Coastal Command's campaign against the U-boats, the Dutch contribution to Bomber Command, the story of a bomber crew based on Malta, and a series of individual stories, including the adventures of a member of the Dam Busters who spent the last two months of the war as a Prisoner of War.

Bowman, who is the author of a large number of excellent books on the Second World War, is the author of four chapters, and has provided extensive notes for many of the others, all of which are either based on, or consist entirely of, first hand accounts of the action.

I have one complaint to make about this book. Seventeen of the chapters were written by other authors over quite a wide range of time. In each case the author is acknowledged in the chapter heading, but the original source is not. In some cases this information would have been very valuable. Seven chapters were written by Bruce Sanders, which after some checking I discover to have been a pseudonym used by Leonard R. Gribble, a written who worked for the Press and Censorship Division of the Ministry of Information from 1940 to 1945. Without this information his chapters have a very peculiar tone, but with it they become a really valuable historical resource, especially as Bowman has taken the time to produce some detailed footnotes that correct any factual errors in these wartime writings.

This collection of first-hand accounts gives a really good feel for the variety of the RAF's bomber war, from the earliest limited attacks of 1939 to the overwhelming raids of 1944-45, and a good cross-section of what happened between.

1 - Battle of the Bight
2 - Night Offensive
3 - Bombers' Moon
4 - Whitley Wanderings - Basil Craske
5 - Deep Sea Hunters - Bruce Sanders
6 - Ninety Minutes in May - Bruce Sanders
7 - Happy Valley Excursion - Bruce Sanders
8 - Boston Tea-Party Escorted - Bruce Sanders
9 - The Flying Dutchmen - Bruce Sanders
10 - Over the Alps and Back - Bruce Sanders
11 - Dam Buster - Dudley Heal
12 - The Malta Stories
13 - It Just Couldn't Have Happened - Tom Wingham DFC
14 - No Halt for the Lame - Bruce Sanders
15 - The One who Didn't Get Away - Sergeant John Mattey
16 - Nearly a Nasty Accident (1) - Squadron Leader Bob Davies AFC
17 - The Great Escape - Pilot Officer Neville S.C. Donmall
18 - Harry's War - Harry Wheeler
19 - Nearly a Nasty Accident (2) - Flight Sergeant Ken Westrope
20 - Operation Plunder - Squadron Leader Malcolm Scott DFC
21 - The Skylark and the Psychology of War - Dennis J. Gill

Author: Martin W. Bowman
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2010

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