Wing Leader  [9780907579243]

Wing Leader
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Date Added: Friday 04. May, 2012
Though not the "top scoring Allied fighter pilot of WWII" as touted on the book's cover (that would be Russia's Ivan Kozhedub at 62 or so), Johnny Johnson was probably the highest scoring British ace, with only Marmaduke Pattle claiming more (of which many cannot be verified). During the Second World War, Johnson claimed 34 victories over enemy aircraft, as well as seven shared victories, three shared probables, ten damaged, three shared damaged and one destroyed on the ground. He survived the war and reached the rank of Air Vice Marshal before his retirement.

This book was originally published in 1956 and there are few air minded males of my age who have not read this book. It has been republished many times since under various publishing houses and this one from Crecy is the latest. It is written by Johnson himself and like many auto-biographies, sees the events of the time from the author's point of view. There is no outside, verifying research that goes into the book, but the author was sincere in his efforts to tell the story of his war-time experiences.

Johnson was a reservist that was called up to duty when it was pretty obvious that war was going to happen. He was with 19 Squadron to learn Spitfires and then moved on to 616 Squadron. A crash injured his leg to the point that he needed surgery to correct it so he missed out on the Battle of Britain, joining his unit in December of 1940 after his injuries had healed.

He continued to serve in various units with Fighter Command throughout the war providing his perspective on the operation of units as well as stories of his many victories and the men with which he flew. As the war neared the end, his flying ops were severely reduced by his increasing rank and responsibility. His last victory was in September of 1944 though he continued to fly until the end of hostilities. He remained in the RAF though as a reservist, he had to take a small reduction in rank to do so.

The book was very much a read down memory lane for me as I had not read it since sometime in the 1960s. It is remarkable how much comes back to one upon reading an old friend from one's childhood. Whether this is also an old friend to you, or you are a first time reader, you will find it to be a superb book and one that I can easily recommend to you.

Scott Van Aken – Modelling
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
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