All the fine young eagles: in the cockpit with Canada's World War II fighter pilots.
David Bashow has opened the hangar doors and a bunch of WWII fighter pilots come flying out with their exciting memories and anecdotes. The parade includes the likes of Stan Turner, who politely but firmly ticked off his new CO Johnny Johnson when the latter criticised their dress after being stranded after Dunkirk. Ernie McNabb, Dal Russel and Hartland Molson are among those who bring the Battle of Britian in focus.
Skeets Ogilvie shot down a Dornier 217 while it was on its bomb run on Buckingham Palace. Queen Wilhelmena of the Netherlands was a palace guest and later confirmed Skeets' victory. Then in the dark year of 1941, we fly with Omar Levesque as he becomes the first allied pilot to shoot down a Focke Wulf 190.
We move to the domain of the orphans or "desert rats" like Bert Houle who flew 400 operational sorties but not one from England. We are reminded of tragic mistakes when 13 Malta-bound Hurricanes were launched from a carrier. They were launched beyond the aircraft's range and nine of the 13 went missing.
Duke and Bruce Warren were two more of many Canadians doomed to served with the RAF where the colonial stigma often dominated attitudes. Duke Warren reported to a station where the adjutant rumbled about colonials and told him that "one of your people" is confined to barracks pending a court-martial. The victim was American Don Gentile who later accounted for 29 victories. But according to the adjutant "you are all alike from over there."
The author covers fighter-bomber and night-fighter operations and includes the late Dave McIntosh's graphic account of destroying a doodlebug. A navigator on a Mosquito, Dave and his pilot closed on a flying bomb.
"It was like looking into a blast furnace. `We're too close', I screamed...the goddamn thing went off right in our faces...I opened my eyes and caught a glimpse of things whirling around outside the window. Black things and blobs of smoke...`I got too close,' Sid said. `I noticed' I said."
All the Fine Young Eagles brings it all together.