There is something about flying, and about those who fly, which captures the public imagination. Anyone wondering why need only browse the pages of this outstanding compilation to understand the reason. There is the passion of aviators, the thrill of combat, the beauty of flight, the majesty of Nature, the fear of death. But there is also the joy and humour, and an awareness of God in His many forms; indeed there is every Human emotion in these recollections.
Most of these events took place many years ago, the majority during WW2. Since then our Nation and its fliers have been called upon many times to secure the freedom of our people, and the Fleet Air Arm, the Army Air Corps and the Royal Air Force are today engaged in operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan and the Gulf. The equipment may be different, the scale smaller, the threat more difficult to define, but the spirit of our combat airman, and all those who support them, remains as steadfast as ever. This book is a tribute to all those men and women who have risen to the challenge of flight, but especially to those who have done so at times of conflict.
I congratulate Jack Burgess
, who has so splendidly co-ordinated and compiled the many stories, photographs and anecdotes in the book, and also the Saltire Branch for their untiring support for the project. Most of all, I salute those whose experiences are captured here; they serve as an example and as an inspiration to those who now fly in their contrails.
Air Marshal Sir Christopher Coville, KCB, BA, FCIPD, FRAeS
President, The Aircrew Association