Luck of the Devil

Flying Swordfish in WWII

Robert le Page

Robert le Page flew with the Fleet Air Arm from 1940 to 1945, mostly in 816 Squadron flying carrier-based Fairey Swordfish. He saw action mine-laying off Cherbourg, hunting U-boats, escorting convoys in the North Atlantic and Arctic seas and covering D-Day. His story is full of insights into wartime naval flying.
Date Published :
February 2012
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Language:
English
Illustration :
approximately 30 b/w in plate section
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781848845442
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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In stock
$39.95

Overview
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Robert le Page flew with the Fleet Air Arm from 1940 to 1945, mostly in 816 Squadron flying carrier-based Fairey Swordfish. He saw action mine-laying off Cherbourg, hunting U-boats, escorting convoys in the North Atlantic and Arctic seas and covering D-Day. Much of his early war years were aboard HMS Dasher and he was lucky to be ashore when the carrier mysteriously exploded and sank in the Clyde. This decimated 816 Squadron which was eventually re-equipped and then worked up to operational readiness to fly from HMS Tracker.

His story is full of insights into wartime naval flying. For example when they were tasked with finding and attacking German E Boats they found that in a headwind these powerful boats could outdistance the ‘Stringbag’. They devised a plan which was to glide as quietly as possible on their approach to the quarry and power up the engine only seconds before they attacked – a plan that was unfortunately unsuccessful. Once when landing in rough weather his aircraft was waved to go round again. With throttle wide open the Swordfish struggled back into the air, but alas the tailhook snagged the top wire of the barrier protecting other parked aircraft. The author remembered staring down from the stalling aircraft to see a terror stricken fitter gazing up at him. Fortunately all survived.

About The Author
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After the war Robert le Page became an academic linguist. This book is based upon a privately published edition now unavailable. Robert died in 2006 but his son, a dramatist and novelist by profession, has restructured the work to include many new notes and letters written by his late father."I'm an English writer based in Scotland, UK. I was born in Jamaica and have worked in a number of tropical countries - Java, Uganda, Burma, Sudan and Nepal - with various aid agencies at difficult times, so much of what I write now reflects those experiences. I took a degree in English and Art History at Cambridge, but then trained as a tropical and paediatric nurse. I've been writing professionally for some thirty years, beginning with a stage comedy about famine in Africa; this rather unusual subject needed a fresh approach! It has been produced five or six times, including BBC radio, and theatres in New York and L.A. Since then I've had several novels published in the UK, with Finnish, Greek and US editions also. I've recently branched out into Kindle e-books too. I worked for a while in cinema and TV, and won a fellowship to the University of Southern California film school. These days I teach Creative Writing for two British universities, and I am teaching director of the St Andrews Summer School which particularly welcomes US-based students. Lastly, I'm a musician: I play with a professional early music quartet here in Scotland, performing Renaissance and early Baroque programmes. You can find out more on my website: www.jonathanfalla.co.uk. Thanks for your interest." --Jonathan Falla

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