Thunderbolt to War
gives a remarkable personal insight into the structure and operations of a leading USAAF Fighter Squadron in Britain during the Second World War. This theme is explored through the recorded thoughts and feelings of Clint Sperry, a skilled fighter pilot who was seconded to England with the 353rd Fighter Group—the rarely celebrated workhorse of Eighth Fighter Command. Despite the relative anonymity of the Group, the names of its charismatic leaders still resonate today, including the eighteen-victory ace Walter Beckham and the aggressive Glenn E. Duncan.
Clint and his colleagues suffered many frustrating and perilous experiences during the war; they encountered enemy fighters, flak, treacherous weather, and mechanical problems throughout the bloody battles over Europe. To survive was a lottery, but Clint’s experience and aptitude served him well.
This account follows the soaring successes and devastating traumas that Clint experienced, culminating in a vivid picture of a fighter pilot’s war. He flew 106 missions in his favoured P47 Thunderbolt, and was credited with destroying or probably destroying five enemy aircraft—in addition to destroying many targets on the ground by strafing and bombing. Clint was awarded three DFCs for his courage, and gained the enduring respect of his son, Steve, and his friend, John Anderson. Their richly illustrated account of his life pays tribute to a true American hero.
||234 x 156 mm
||15 October 2015
||118 black-and-white illustrations
John Anderson was born in 1943 in Coggeshall, Essex, England. He considers this book as a tribute to his great friend Clint, and has found working with Clint’s son, Steve, to be a privilege. John is married to Priscilla and has two children and one grandson. He is semi-retired, and actively enjoys his family, mountain walking, skiing, golf, and aviation.
Steve Sperry is a retired sail-maker who divides his time between the coast of Massachusetts and the woods of Central Maine. He has a passion for flying his seaplane, woodworking, and working with his sons and nephew to grow the business that he started. With his wife, Mo, he also keeps an eye on a band of grandchildren.