Read First Light by Geoffrey Wellum Free Online
Book Title: First Light|
The author of the book: Geoffrey Wellum
ISBN 13: 9780670912483
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 637 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2200 times
Reader ratings: 6.8
Edition: Viking Books
Date of issue: January 1st 2002
Read full description of the books:
First Light is one of those books that is destined to be remembered as a "classic" and rightly so. This is a wonderful book of a young man who joined the Royal Air Force before the start of World War Two and who later fought during the Battle of Britain and survived. Most of the book is taken up with his training as a pilot and the fighting during the Battle of Britain. However the book continues on to cover his role in Operation Pedestal and the fighting over Malta until his return to England as a tired and worn out pilot.
I truly enjoyed Geoffrey Wellum's story of his training and chuckled a good many times whilst reading about one thing or another. Mr Wellum has a wonderful way of telling a story and you can easily picture the details as you read his narrative. I found myself amazed as I read the book of how much this young man and his friends suffered in defending their country and their mates in the air.
This is an account that anyone who has an interest in WW2 aviation will be delighted in. It's well told, full of humor, sadness, and death defying flying and combat action. These men, as young as 18, flew one of the fastest and deadliest aircraft at the time and many didn't make it through the campaign or even their first mission. You read with sadness the loss of many good pilots and friends but still the men continue flying day after day facing terrible odds.
I really enjoyed the author's style of writing, he was witty, descriptive and came across with a sense of telling a story with understated facts. He downplayed his own role during the Battle of Britain and I was really hooked on the narrative as it moved along at a cracking pace. I found it hard to put the book down late at night, which brought forth a moan from my wife about turning the lamp off or else!
This is a great story and in finishing I would like to add the following comment from a great historian about this book: "A work of exceptional quality.....his prose has a passion and immediacy which make it compelling reading" - Max Hastings.
He's not wrong either!
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Read information about the authorGEOFFREY WELLUM, a veteran of the Battle of Britain, was the youngest fighter pilot (at 18) in the Royal Air Force (RAF) to have fought in that battle.
"Aged seventeen, he signed up on a short-service commission with the Royal Air Force in August 1939. The first aircraft he flew was the Tiger Moth at Desford airfield in Leicestershire, After successfully completing the course, he then went on to fly the North American Harvard advanced trainer at RAF Little Rissington with 6FTS.
"He was then posted directly in May 1940 to 92 Squadron, flying Spitfires. He saw extensive action during the Battle of Britain. His first Commanding Officer was Roger Bushell, (later immortalised in 'The Great Escape'), and his close colleagues included Brian Kingcome.
"Wellum claimed a Heinkel He 111 bomber shot down on 11 September 1940, and a quarter share in a Junkers Ju 88 downed on 27 September. Two (and one shared) Bf 109's were claimed 'damaged' during November 1940. A Bf 109 was claimed shot down [by Wellum] on 9 July 1941 over France.
"In February 1942, Wellum was transferred to 65 Squadron based at Debden, being appointed to Flight Commander in March 1942.
"On 11 August 1942, Wellum led 8 Spitfires launched from the carrier HMS Furious to reinforce the RAF fighter complement at Luqa airfield on the island of Malta. Here he joined 1435 Squadron on air defence duties before being rested after a severe bout of sinusitis.
"Wellum suffered severe combat fatigue after three years' intensive flying, because of the immense strain that frontline British fighter pilots were put under during that period. He returned from Malta to Britain, becoming a test pilot on the Hawker Typhoon, based at Gloster Aircraft.
"He finished the war as a gunnery instructor, staying in the RAF, first as a staff officer in West Germany, followed by a four year tour with 192 Squadron. He married Grace, his wartime girlfriend and they had three children.
"Wellum left the Royal Air Force in 1961, [and went to work] with a firm of commodity brokers in the City of London, set up his own business, and then retired to Mullion, Cornwall."
Subsequently, [Wellum] had written a memoir of his time as a Spitfire pilot but never intended it for publication. However in 2000 he gave it to a young [author/historian] called James Holland, who showed it to friends at Penguin, and they immediately decided to publish it."
This was "FIRST LIGHT: The Story of the Boy Who Became a Man in the War-Torn Skies Above Britain", which became a best-seller.
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