Bryan Wild joined the RAF in 1940, a raw recruit not long out of school. Over the next five years, he flew fourteen different types of aircraft and saw action over Britain, North Africa, the Mediterranean and Germany. His memoirs capture the daily life of an ordinary RAF pilot: the thrill of flying and experiencing a new aircraft for the first time; the frisson of night flying in the early days when planes were not equipped with inboard radar; the tedium of hanging around with nothing to do; the stark contrast felt with the intensity and urgency of action; the camaraderie of young men at war together; and the devastating loss of friends in combat.
Wild started the war with nine lives and ended up with just the one. He had close shaves with death in action, but also freak accidents such as radio breakdown in fog over the Welsh mountains, an undercarriage stick that broke off in his hand, goggles that caught on a Spitfire cockpit hood during flight causing a near-fatal spin at 1,000 feet, and a runway collision with an errant cook wagon. Flying Blind: The Story of a Second World War Night Fighter Pilot portrays the full flavour of wartime RAF life and one pilot’s journey from boyhood to manhood.
234 x 156 mm
15 October 2014
92 black-and-white photographs
Elizabeth Halls, Bryan Wild’s daughter, assisted her father with transcribing his wartime diaries. Since his death, she has collated and assembled his material and undertaken further background research for this book. She lives with her husband in rural Herefordshire.
Joe Bamford is the author of five books concerning military aviation during both World Wars. Bryan was of much assistance when Joe was researching and writing his book Eyes of the Night, and they became good friends. Joe Bamford has previously written Tales from the Control Tower for Fonthill.