Book Review: A Spy in the Sky

A Photographic Reconnaissance Spitfire Pilot in WWII

Very interesting book. I love all stories about WW2 written by the people who actually were there, and this one is no exception. It not only tells the story of a young man who joins the RAF (more or less by mistake, to avoid service in the army), but it also provides us with a view into life in those days, outside of the actual action.
He tells us about life on the various RAF bases, the training, his family, and also about his feeling bout being inferior and even discriminated compared to the people from better off families, with better education. It is funny to read that he learns to speak with a stiff upper lip to blend in more with the officers. And one can feel sorry for his feelings of being discriminated. He emphasises that quite often in the many pages.

Apart from that it is very interesting to read how he learns to fly, without actually having counted on becoming a pilot, or even dreaming much about it in advance. His recollections of how the various aircraft behave are very interesting for us aviation geeks.

Last but not least the sorties he flew are nothing less than heroic….. alone in an unarmed aircraft over enemy skies…. Not like U2 or SR-71 pilots mostly flying above threat level, but rather among enemy fighters ! And without radar, GPS, cockpit lights or even radio in some cases. His flying was just as awesome as that of the Lysander pilots landing behind enemy lines to drop off and pick up saboteurs and spies.

On top of it all his writing style is very good, and very humorous at that ! Here’s a book that is well worth reading. Available from the P&S webshop here.

By Kenneth B Johnson
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 158
Illustrations: 16
ISBN: 9781526761569
Published: 19th August 2019

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