Wlliam Francis Blackadder was a pilot of No. 607 Squadron, one of only two Auxiliary Air Force squadrons posted across the Channel during the ill-fated Battle of France. His diary begins at the squadron's annual summer camp at Abbotsinch in August 1939, and finishes at the Belgian Army headquarters in Brussels in May 1940. Blackadder's writings reflect No. 607 pilots' excitement in the last days of peace, frustrations in the ensuing 'Phoney War', and low morale at the harsh French winter of 1939 and long delay before receiving their first Hurricanes.
This beautifully illustrated book shows the aerial war over France as it really was, and illuminates some of the factors behind the British defeat: pilots were ill-equipped, outnumbered, reduced to dogfighting, and constantly hampered by the damage the weather caused to planes on the ground. Yet Robert Dixon also garners from Blackadder's diary insights into his more joyful experiences – his initiation to flying, daily routines as an auxiliary pilot, the social fabric and bonds of his squadron, and his enduring relationship with aviation after the war.
234 x 156 mm
15 January 2015
75 black-and-white photographs
Robert Dixon has been a contributor to aviation magazines such as Flypast for over twenty years. He is the author of several books on aviation history, including 607 Squadron: A Shade of Blue and Men of the North: A Few of the Few. This is his first publication with Fonthill Media.