Fighters in the Blood
The Story of a Spitfire Pilot - And the Son Who Followed in His Footsteps
Imprint: Air World
336 Pages, 6 x 9.25 in, 100 black and white illustrations
- November 2020
- In Stock
The narrative is unique in its use of two separate and distinct voices. The author’s own reminiscences are interwoven with those his father recorded more than thirty years ago, embellished by extracts from some 300 of his wartime letters. Intensely personal and revealing, controversial too at times, this account is above all about people, not least those with whom the author flew while serving with the USAF – a tour marked by tragedy; that said, they proved altogether more friendly than the P-38 pilots who twice attacked his father in North Africa! A daughter with dual citizenship subsequently helped him sustain his links with the US, both while serving and afterwards in business.
The irony is that the son spent a lifetime training for the ultimate examination – one that despite strictly limited preparation his father passed with flying colors. To ‘Black’ Robertson’s eternal regret he was never able to put his own training to the test. His father, ‘Robbie’, was awarded the DFC and retired as a flight lieutenant after five years or so. He himself served for nearly thirty-six years, earned a Queen’s Commendation, an OBE and CBE and served as an ADC to HM The Queen. But after reaching almost the top of the RAF tree, in one important sense he retired unfulfilled; his mettle was never tested under fire.
Anyone interested to know more about flying, about the RAF, about leadership, about character even, need look no further than this beautifully crafted, immensely readable account.
“Black Robertson’s book is far more than simply an outstanding pilot memoir, or even a family memoir. Rather, it offers an insightful look into the professional development of an RAF airman from Cranwell cadet to Air Marshal, the evolution of the Royal Air Force itself from the early jet era of Hunters through the demanding days of NATO versus the Warsaw Pack and the defence of British interests (e.g. the Falklands) with the Phantom, and then on into the post-Cold War world where the need to strengthen RAF airpower is challenged by drawdowns, budgetary stringencies, and often misguided Mandarins driving questionable defence policy. I was struck by how beautifully the author integrated his father into the story . . . it is at once very moving and very effective, and, once again, works to integrate the RAF "then" with the RAF of the 1960s-1990s. The photographs are wonderful. This book is a real winner.” ~Dr. Richard P. Hallion, Aerospace Historian