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On and Off the Flight Deck : Reflections of a Naval Fighter Pilot in World War II: Book 1: The Years 1941-1948 (Paperback)

Author: Adlam, Henry

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Hank Adlham begin his naval flying career in January 1941 when he entered the Pilot's course at Gosport naval barracks. Subsequently, on completion of flying training at Netheravon, he was selected as a fighter pilot and moved to the fighter school at Yeovilton. His first operational posting was in October 1941 to 890 Squadron, flying Grumman Wildcats and Hurricanes. Hank remained in this squadron until July 1944 having taken part in operations against the enemy from two Escort Carriers and one Fleet Carrier in the Atlantic, Arctic, Mediterranean and Far Eastern theatres of war.

Hank's next appointed was to 1839 Squadron, flying the new Grumman Hellcat from a Fleet carrier. Continuous operations in the Far East were carried out during 1944 culminating in the massive strike by the four Carriers of the British Pacific Fleet in January 1945 against the oil refinery at Palembang in Sumatra, where 38% of the whole Japanese oil supply was destroyed. From Sydney, the British Fleet including 1839 Squadron, joined the American Navy in the Pacific theatre of war. The Squadrons were given the task of denying to the Japanese, by strafing, bombing and air combat, the use of three main airfields, which would have been used as a supply route to the Japanese army in the American battle for Okinawa. It was a successful operation over seven weeks but at the cost of 210 aircraft and 44 aircrew killed in action and in deck landings.

In April 1945, Hank was airlifted back to the UK from where he was appointed to HMS Colossus, one of the four new Light Fleet Carriers on their way as a Fleet to the Pacific. Hank operated as a Deck Landing Control Officer (batsman) in the ship and as a Flight Leader in 1846 Squadron, flying the American Corsair fighter aircraft. Hostilities ceased just as this second British Pacific Fleet, with Hank aboard now as a full time squadron pilot, had left Sydney in Australia on its way to join in the attack on the mainland of Japan.

Hank's narrative of the many happenings and incidents during his four years of operations from Carriers is vivid and exciting. And his description of the high risk involved in flying on and off the unstable and moving flight decks of Aircraft Carriers, is not just gripping, but informative and interesting. Strong friendships too were formed among aircrews and Hank writes movingly about the deep sadness quietly suffered when friends were killed. But Hank's story is by no means all doom and war, his account of life ashore, sometimes with attractive but elusive young women, is often brilliantly funny. Basically his book is not about the heroes and leaders of naval air warfare, although he points out that there were many of them, but a portrayal of an average young man, anxious to fight for his country, but having to cope with the tension of warfare.


Publisher Pen & Sword
Mfg Part# 9781848841956
SKU 213836880
Format Paperback
ISBN10 1848841957
Release Date 1/1/2010
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