Close
Enter your search into one or more of the boxes below:
You can refine your search by selecting from any of the options below:
Search
Gun Button to Fire a Hurricane Pilot's Dramatic Story of the Battle of Britain
Foyalty 83
Gun Button to Fire a Hurricane Pilot's Dramatic Story of the Battle of Britain (Hardback)
Order now for Free delivery in the UK for orders over £10 or choose Express Delivery to receive in 2 business days. More on delivery...
Order Options List Price Online Price Save Availability Login for Quick Checkout
Delivery:

To home, business or free to our stores. Click for more info.

£12.00 £20.97  

Despatched in 5 business days from USA.

Add to Basket
Click & Collect:

Order now to collect from 8pm today. In stock items only. Click for more info.

£12.00 £12.00  

Stores - out of stock

 
New & Used:

Our marketplace sellers will deliver to your chosen address. Click for more info.

From £6.16  

In stock at one or more sellers.

Buy - Select Seller

Product Synopsis

The amazing story of one of 'the Few', fighter ace Tom Neil. This is a fighter pilot's story of eight memorable months from May to December 1940. When the Germans were blitzing their way across France, Pilot Officer Tom Neil had just received his first posting - to 249 Squadron, in process for forming at RAF Church Fenton in Yorkshire. Nineteen years old, fresh from training at Montrose on Hawker Audax biplanes he was soon to be pitch forked into the maelstrom of air fighting on which the survival of Britain was to depend. By the end of the year he had shot down 13 enemy aircraft, seen many of his friends killed, injured or burned, and was himself a wary and accomplished fighter pilot. Tom Neil is one of only a handful of veterans still alive today. The average age of surviving veterans is 91. Only 20 veterans out of 2947 official Battle of Britain pilots are fit enough to attend Battle of Britain Fighter Association events (although around 90 are still alive in total). He is 89 and lives in Suffolk with his wife who was a Fighter Command plotter when they met in 1940.

He flew 141 combat missions (few pilots reached 50) mostly from North Weald airfield in Essex, and shot down 13 enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain. Tom Neil was one of the pilots the War Ministry used in their propaganda at the time of the Battle of Britain partly because of his height (6 ft 4) and his good looks. Tom Neil flew with James Nicolson at the time he won the only Battle of Britain Victoria Cross.

More books by Tom Neil

Leave Review

Staff Choice

Desperate to join the RAF from the age of 12, Tom Neil makes no bones about the fact that the war was 'a very exciting business for a 19-year-old'. He acknowledges in the foreword to this, his sixth book on his experiences as a fighter pilot, that some may consider his approach to such a grave subject as too light-hearted, his tone too buoyant. Rather than apologising, he maintains that 'youth sees great humour in almost everything – even destruction and death'.

These words set the tone for this war memoir: conversational, often stream of consciousness, skipping between past and present tense as if Neil’s flashbacks are vivid enough to bring the moment back into being. The text is scattered with exclamations from his teenage self – 'Crikey! My first solo in a Spit! Electrifying! Wonderful!' – and he is self-deprecating and honest about the crippling fear of battle. Nearly 65 pages of glossy photographs and diagrams include copies of touching log-book entries: 'My first flight. Nearly died of shock'. Later, 'We lost half squadron… I was very, very scared.'

Few World War II fighter pilots reached their 50th combat mission. Tom Neil flew 141. Granted the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for 'an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy', he shot down 13 enemy aircraft, earning himself the title of 'Ace'. On this he is characteristically modest, saying only that all the fighters 'simply did the best we could'.

Neil is now 89 years old, and has outlived all of his squadron but one. As such, he was determined to write this Battle of Britain memoir as the ranks of 'The Few' gradually diminish, keen that the story of their efforts and achievement remains fresh. This volume is the second reprint of the original Gun Button to Fire, published in 1987 and now very scarce. The bulk of his material came from the discovery of over 600 letters, the extensive correspondence between Neil and his parents during the five years he flew in World War II, which Neil found when clearing his family home in the 1970s.

New information has seen the epilogue updated. Neil notes it as extraordinary that, although he knew some of the men he fought alongside for only a few days or weeks, he remembers the smallest details of their tastes and idiosyncrasies. The epilogue describes each of his colleagues and friends from this period, both then and, if they survived, since. Irreverent, honest, but always affectionate, his respect for each and every one reflects back onto his own achievements.
Chosen for his 6'4" stature and good looks, Neil was featured in a Ministry of Information propaganda booklet on the Battle of Britain. He was also part of some of the most widely circulated and easily recognisable of the Battle of Britain photographs - distributed amongst Luftwaffe pilots as a representation of the type of RAF pilot they were up against. An icon of the battle as well as one of its most successful pilots, he is uniquely qualified to tell a story that is both the ultimate military epic and also distinctly personal.

Reprinted with permission by www.military-times.co.uk

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 22/02/2011

Delivery

Please note for the New & Used Marketplace different terms and conditions apply.

Delivery Options

All delivery times quoted are the average, and cannot be guaranteed. These should be added to the availability message time, to determine when the goods will arrive. During checkout we will give you a cumulative estimated date for delivery.

Location1st BookEach additional bookAverage Delivery Time
UK Second ClassAvailable free for orders over £10* or £2.50Available free for orders over £10* or £1.003-7 Days
UK First Class£4.50£1.001-2 Days
UK Courier£7.00£1.001-2 Days
Western Europe** Courier£17.00£3.002-3 Days
Western Europe** Airmail£5.00£1.504-14 Days
USA / Canada Courier£20.00£3.002-4 Days
USA / Canada Airmail£7.00£3.004-14 Days
Rest of World Courier£22.50£3.003-6 Days
Rest of World Airmail£8.00£3.007-21 Days

* Available free for orders over £10 = When offered a delivery preference choose 'For Cheapest Postage' for our freepost in the UK offer. This is not available on the 'For Faster Delivery' option.

** Includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Delivery Help & FAQs

Returns Information

If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase*, you may return it to us in its original condition with in 30 days of receiving your delivery or collection notification email for a refund. Except for damaged items or delivery issues the cost of return postage is borne by the buyer. Your statutory rights are not affected.

* For Exclusions and terms on damaged or delivery issues see Returns Help & FAQs

You might also like

Navan Centre: House of Commons Papers...
Northern Ireland Audit Office
 
From£94.32 Buy - Select Seller
Ghana: Pt. 2: 1952-1957
University of London Institute of...
 
From£62.51 Buy - Select Seller
The Romans in Scotland: Activity Book
Frances Jarvie; Carrie Philip
 
Your Shopping Basket
Total number of items: 0
Sub total: £0.00
Edit Basket Go to Checkout
Select Currency: $ £
enCounter Culture
Signed Books and Copies
Animators Survival Kit
Latest Blog
GUEST BLOG: Opening French cold cases
26/08/2014

Crime writer Peter May reveals a difference in legal systems between England and France, the country where he now lives and writes, that was to prove the inspiration for his newly published book, The Critic.

The thorny issue
17/08/2014

Gary, from our Charing Cross Road branch, introduces an exciting new addition to our range, Gorse, a wonderful literary journal from Dublin.

GUEST BLOG: Cambodia's deadly legacy
13/08/2014

Author KT Medina talks about how her work with mine clearers in Cambodia and explains how it inspired her dramtic debut thriller, White Crocodile.

View all Blog Entries
Twitter
© W&G Foyle Ltd
Version: 1.0.0.28491