Item description for Shot Down and in the Drink: RAF and Commonwealth Aircrews Saved from the Sea, 1939-1945 by Graham Pitchfork...
Using extensive research into official records held at The National Archives, Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork describes the formation and evolution of Air Sea Rescue in response to wartime events. He reveals how aircrews were trained to act in crash scenarios, the survival equipment they used, and the different methods of possible rescue - by RAF or Royal Navy launches, by airborne lifeboats, or by aircraft such as the Lysander or specialist amphibious and flying boats. The second half of the book presents over 40 gripping, first-hand accounts of rescue and survival from the three main operational areas: north-west Europe, the Mediterranean and the Far East. One fighter pilot with particularly bad luck had to bale out over the Adriatic three times in three weeks; amazingly, he was also successfully rescued each time. Another came down in a minefield within range of the German guns at Calais; an amphibious aircraft still managed to pull off a daring rescue, dodging both mines and enemy fighters overhead. Many of these accounts are published for the first time - the result of new archival research or interviews with surviving members of the aptly named Goldfish Club. Useful maps, diagrams and over 80 previously unpublished official and private photographs complement this unique record of human resourcefulness and courage. Contents: THE AIR SEA RESCUE ORGANIZATION * Background * Early wartime organization * Aircrew training * Survival equipment * Location aids NORTH-WEST EUROPE * Rescue Craft * The First Three Years * Battle of the Atlantic * The Bomber Offensive * Return to Europe MEDITERRANEAN AND WEST AFRICA * The Early Years * Invasion of Sicily and Italy * The Italians and Balkans Campaign * West Africa INDIA AND THE FAR EAST * Air Sea Rescue Organization * Rescue
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.5" Weight: 1.45 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2005
Publisher National Archives of England
ISBN 1903365872 ISBN13 9781903365878
Availability 0 units.
More About Graham Pitchfork
Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork, MBE, served in the RAF for 36 years and was subsequently a director of Military Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence. His previous books include "Men Behind the Medals" and "The Buccaneers".
Reviews - What do customers think about Shot Down and in the Drink: RAF and Commonwealth Aircrews Saved from the Sea, 1939-1945?
Excellent Stories about the Air Sea Rescue Services Nov 7, 2006
This is an excellent account of an overlooked portion of the Second World War. Each Story is a vignette of the air sea rescue actions that took place during the conflict. The author does a very good job of putting the reader into the center of the action as it took place. I was particularly interested in the stories about the RAF HSL's and the roll they played in rescue. Over 11,000 airmen were saved from exposure and drowning during the war. Graham Pitchfork brings this to this fact to the surface rather well. I would recommend this to any student of WWII history. I would have given this a 5 star rating; however, the author begins the study at the beginning of hostilities in WWII. Reliable sources have noted that the air sea rescue concept was founded in 1926 by RAF Aircraftsman Shaw (Formerly Lt. Col. T.E. Lawrence - Lawrence of Arabia) after witnessing a seaplane crash at RAF Cattsworth. I would refer the reader of this review to articles written by John Pritchard on the subject of RAF HSL's for further information. Working in conjunction with Hubert Scott-Pain, Shaw birthed the concept many years prior to the war. If the book had gone back to those earlier days, it would truly be a 5 Star account of an exceptional service rendered during WWII.