Tag Archives: Fonthill Media

RAF Lossiemouth

My overwhelming impression here is a sense of direct connection with the fighting spirit of the past in a modern world still sadly filled with uncertainty and threat. Having close-up tours of the Typhoon and Tornado brought to the fore that unbroken link of innovation and development which means that, surprisingly, I can now see as many of the similarities as differences between these fast jet fighters and the Spitfires, Hurricanes, Beaufighters, Defiants, Typhoons and Tempests of seven

Sgt Stuart Smylie, presenting me with a print of the Typhoon behind me, signed by crew of II (AC) Squadron.

Sgt Stuart Smylie, presenting me with a print of the Typhoon behind me, signed by crew of II (AC) Squadron.

decades ago. At first, it seemed to me that all had changed and the old planes were unrecogniseable in the new, but beside the computer screen displays in the Typhoons, you open a tiny flap to discover three small instruments dials, by which the pilot can bring the plane home if the computer system should fail. The glass screen that displays green-lit information between the pilot and the bubble of the cockpit canopy are showing him the old instrument information in a different visual format, generated by computer, but still the same information, albeit with loads of other stuff available at whim.

My father wrote a long description (in Flying Blind: The Story of a Second World War Night Figher Pilot, Fonthill Media) of chasing a Heinkel bomber across the English Channel, with his Radar Operator, Deryk Hollinrake, struggling to keep its ‘blip’ on his small radar scanner; and the desperation to get a visual on the aircraft, as this was the only means of shooting it down. The old Mark I Eyball, as they say. Today, suffice it to say, it’s very different indeed. As the amazing technology was explained to me (a little), I kept thinking, ‘What would Dad have said to all this?’

ControlsBeau

Controls, Beaufighter 1943

ControlsTyphoon

Controls Typhoon 2015

One thing has not changed in all the years: the RAF family here – and elsewhere – has made me feel I belong, even though I know that belonging is because of my dear father, because of those years he served in the 1940s, and for whom it really was a family in more than just name.

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Filed under Airfields, Aviation, Aviation history, RAF history, Royal Air Force, Second World War

RAF Coltishall days remembered in the Eastern Daily Press

An article appears today in the EASTERN DAILY PRESS about Flight Lieutenant Bryan Wild’s memoirs of his time in East Anglia with 26 Squadron from October 1944 to June 1946.

To buy a copy of ‘FLYING BLIND’ on AMAZON UK CLICK HERE

To buy a copy of ‘FLYING BLIND’ ON AMAZON WORLDWIDE CLICK HERE

To buy a copy of ‘FLYING BLIND’ from the publishers FONTHILL MEDIA CLICK HERE

 Sophie Wyllie interviewed me over the Christmas holidays, and asked particularly what it was like to read my father’s diaries for the first time:

Mrs Halls, 56, from Herefordshire, said reading his diaries was like meeting her father when he was in his 20s.

She said: “Diary entries are very different to how people present themselves. It was quite extraordinary reading my father’s diary. When I was growing up he never talked about the war. When I read the diaries I felt as though I was with him in the cockpit.

“He was young and adored flying aircraft. The RAF was a family for him.”

Before arriving in Norfolk, Flt Lt Wild flew with 46 Squadron from Egypt and Cyprus between 1943 and 1944.

While at Coltishall between October 10 and October 27, 1944, he flew Mosquitos which he described as breathtaking.

“He liked East Anglia, its pubs and friendly local people. He was very happy there,” Mrs Halls added.

Read the whole article HERE

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Flying Blind publication

FlyingBlindCoverFrontThe book of my father’s memoirs, ‘Flying Blind: the Story of a Night-Fighter Pilot’, is now at the press and is likely to be available from mid-October.

The book is published by Fonthill Media.

Watch this space!

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Filed under Aviation, Aviation history, books, Second World War