Fuel, Fire and Fear

RAF Flight Engineers at War

Colin Pateman

Fuel, Fire and Fear examines Bomber Command's undertaking to create a unique member of aircrew. In many cases the duties by dedicated Flight Engineers are recounted from their own flying logbooks. An insight of operational flying managing 14 fuel tanks with a maximum load of 2,304 Imperial gallons of high Octane petrol was a heavy responsibility.
Date Published :
May 2018
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781781556757
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6.15 inches
Stock Status : In stock


During the Second World War the need for an on-board technical expert to join the Bomber Crews evolved. The various systems on the latest 4-engined ‘Heavy Bombers’, namely the Handley Page Halifax, Shorts Stirling and Avro Lancaster witnessed the development of Flight Engineers. This book provides the reader with an explanation of the origin of Flight Engineers, the training of these men and the complexity of keeping large bombers in the air is an enthralling story. Many gallantry medals were won by Flight Engineers, including the Victoria Cross. Accounts of dangerous operational flying is revealed by Flight Engineers in numerous aircraft including those of Coastal Command. Direct entries into the RAF by civilians were undertaken to satisfy the demand for Flight Engineers. Entrants underwent courses of varying lengths but flying training time was very sparse and remarkably it was not unknown for these men to qualify for their flying badges without ever having flown in an aircraft. This book examines true accounts that took place; many based upon personal flying logbooks and other unique material originating from the pilots and aircrew themselves.

About The Author

Colin Pateman lives in the South of England having spent his working life as a Police Officer, retiring after 32 years’ service. His key roles were as a handler of specialist search dogs, a Home Office qualified instructor and later trained by the Royal Engineers to qualify as a Police Search Advisor. Colin is an avid collector of aviation memorabilia and gains great satisfaction from gathering and preserving personal accounts of pilots and aircrews of the Second World War. His other aviation related publications by Fonthill include ‘Goldfish Caterpillars and Guinea pigs’, ‘Unwanted Hero’, ‘Unshackled Spirit’ and ‘Glorious in Solitude’.


"... a welcome and needed addition to RAF World War II historiography."

- Air Power History

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