Flying aces remembered
A RESEARCHER from Malvern has published a book telling the story of some of the lesser-known flying heroes of the Second World War.
Stirlings in Action with the Airborne Forces by Dr Dennis Williams tells the story of two RAF squadrons which shared the task of dropping agents and supplies on behalf of the Special Operations Executive, took part in the D-Day landings, suffered heavy losses at Arnhem, dropped Special Air Service troops behind enemy lines and were involved with the Rhine crossing that sealed Germany’s fate in 1945.
190 and 620 Squadrons both flew the Short Stirling aircraft, and many of the operations involved a lone aircraft flying at night, using visual navigation to find the small pinpricks of light where resistance forces were waiting to receive agents and supplies.
There were also tasks of towing gliders and dropping paratroops that demanded skilled piloting and navigation.
Apart from his research into operational records and archive material, the author found many squadron members who told their stories. The book is illustrated with more than 200 photos.
Dr Williams learned to fly when he was 17, on completing an RAF Flying Scholarship. He became a materials scientist working for the Ministry of Defence on semiconductors and ceramics.
He recently returned to university to get a degree in archaeology, and now works for the county archaeology service
Stirlings in Action is published by Pen and Sword Books.