Although less well-known and less widely celebrated than that of their counterparts in RAF Fighter Command and RAF Bomber Command, the activities of the aircrews of RAF Coastal Command were no less essential to the war effort and no less perilous. Flying long patrols over the waters surrounding the British coastline and elsewhere in all weathers Coastal Command aircrews kept a constant vigil for enemy submarines, shipping and aircraft. Their efforts were a major contribution to the eventual defeat of the U-boats used to such devastating effect in our Atlantic sea approaches.
In this enjoyable memoir Ted Rayner gives a compelling account of his own flying activities during World War Two, which involved patrols over the North Sea and Arctic Ocean, flying from bases in Norway, Iceland and Greenland.
Flying such patrols over the icy waters of the Arctic Circle was an inherently dangerous undertaking, given the certain knowledge that ditching into the sea at those latitudes would not be survivable. Sadly, many Coastal Command crews perished in the icy Arctic waters while performing the dangerous but invaluable role of protecting Allied shipping routes against enemy attacks.