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A collection of 20 true stories of bravery, survival, and good and bad luck, involving bomber command during World War II.

The following extracts illustrate the drama in this book.

‘It is believed that when Dacey realised the aircraft was on fire he grabbed an extinguisher, hurried aft and tried, in vain, to put out the flames. Somehow he became trapped behind the spreading inferno and was unable to return to the cockpit for his parachute. Alone with his screams, he could do nothing except wait and die as his unsuspecting companions jumped into the cold night. It is likely that Dacey was already dead before the Halifax plunged into the ground and blew up, atomising his body.’

‘Unable to release Jones (mid-upper gunner) they agreed the only way was to chop off his foot, clip him to a parachute and all bale out. Jordan seized the axe, which was part of their escape gear, detaching himself from his macabre task, knowing it must be done otherwise they would all die.’

‘We were marched to a deserted and tatty industrial area, into a short cu-de-sac, where most of the property was badly damaged. A factory wall stood across the bottom and they put us against it. A line of a dozen (German) soldiers stood pavement to pavement, rifles against their shoulders. A corporal stood near them with his hand up. Stan said to me in a low, horrified voice: "They’re going to shoot us.".’

‘We could see the (Lancaster) wing flapping up and down. It could have broken off at any time and going through my mind was the thought that it probably would. But we pressed on. I took a realistic view. I knew the chances were against us getting back and this might be the time everything was going to end. But I didn’t experience fear which interfered with what I had to do.

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Hell on Earth: Dramatic First-Hand Experiences of Bomber Command at War
Average rating
5 / 5
September 9th, 2013
Good book with a great variety of stories
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