For many, the Westland Whirlwind conjures the image of yellow air-sea rescue helicopters, not the sleek twin-engine monoplane that was the RAF’s first single-seat, cannon-armed fighter. Although faster and better armed than its legendary cousin, the Spitfire, the Westland Whirlwind has long been neglected the appreciation it deserves. Only 114 were built, sufficient to equip two squadrons: Nos 263 and 137. Between 6 July 1940 and 31 December 1943, 210 pilots were listed in the Operational Record Books of these two squadrons; while ‘The Few’ won the Battle of Britain, the ‘Whirlwind Men’ were an even more select group, with some becoming a part of RAF folklore.
Based predominantly on first-hand accounts, 263 and 137 Squadrons: The Whirlwind Years
reveals the heroism and sacrifice of the squadrons’ pilots – men who came from as far afield as Peru and Australia – and the impact this extraordinary but little-known aircraft had on the war.
|234 x 156 mm
|15 May 2014
|28 black and white photographs
Anthony Dodsworth is a retired geography and history teacher from Rotherham, Yorkshire. Born in London and a graduate of Birmingham University, he spent most of his career teaching in South Yorkshire. He helped to set up a local history group in Rawmarsh and Parkgate over ten years ago and has produced old photo books on Rawmarsh and Greasbrough as well as an oral history book on Rawmarsh. Dodsworth is a keen visitor of old churches and cake-serving tea shops. He gives history talks to local community groups in his home area.