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First light : the true story of the boy who became a man in the war-torn skies above Britain / Geoffrey Wellum.

By: Wellum, Geoffrey.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Hoboken, N.J. : J. Wiley & Sons, 2002Description: xiv, 338 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780471426271(hbk).Subject(s): Wellum, Geoffrey | Fighter pilots -- Great Britain -- Biography | World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, British | World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations, BritishDDC classification: Review: "In First Light, Geoffrey Wellum tells the inspiring, often terrifying true story of his coming of age amid the roaring, tumbling dogfights of the fiercest air war the world had ever seen. It is the story of an idealistic schoolboy who couldn't believe his luck when the RAF agreed to take him on as a "pupil pilot" at the minimum age of seventeen and a half in 1939. In his fervor to fly, he gave little thought to the coming war." "Writing with wit, compassion, and a great deal of technical expertise, Wellum relives his grueling months of flight training, during which two of his classmates crashed and died. He describes a hilarious scene during his first day in the prestigious 92nd Squadron when his commader discovered that Wellum had not only never flown a Spitfire, he'd never even seen one." "A battle-hardened ace by the winter of 1941, though still not out of his teens, Boy flew scores of missions as fighter escort on bombing missions over France. Yet the constant life-or-death stress of murderous combat and anguish over the loss of his closest friends sapped endurance. Tortured by fierce headaches, even in the midst of battle, he could not bear the thought of "not pulling your weight, " of letting the other pilots risk their lives in his place. Wellum's frank account of his long, losing bout with battle fatigue is both moving and enlightening."--BOOK JACKET.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"Wellum's First Light deserves to be read for many years to come."
-The Times (of London)

High praise for England's bestselling First Light . . .

"An extraordinarily gripping and powerful story."
-The Evening Standard (London)

"A work of exceptional quality . . . a passion and immediacy which make it compelling reading."
-Max Hastings, author of Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy

"A remarkable book, amazingly fresh, honest, and modest . . . utterly gripping; it is without question one of the best books I have read in the last few years."
-Professor Richard Holmes, author of Redcoat: The British Soldier in the Age of Horse and Musket

"Startlingly vivid recollections . . . this is air war at its most intense . . . his readers get a strong sense of immediacy."
-The Spectator (London)

"Geoffrey Wellum's book is a wonderfully evocative find . . . a book for all ages and generations, a treasure."
-Daily Express (London)

Originally published: London ; New York : Viking, c2002.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

"In First Light, Geoffrey Wellum tells the inspiring, often terrifying true story of his coming of age amid the roaring, tumbling dogfights of the fiercest air war the world had ever seen. It is the story of an idealistic schoolboy who couldn't believe his luck when the RAF agreed to take him on as a "pupil pilot" at the minimum age of seventeen and a half in 1939. In his fervor to fly, he gave little thought to the coming war." "Writing with wit, compassion, and a great deal of technical expertise, Wellum relives his grueling months of flight training, during which two of his classmates crashed and died. He describes a hilarious scene during his first day in the prestigious 92nd Squadron when his commader discovered that Wellum had not only never flown a Spitfire, he'd never even seen one." "A battle-hardened ace by the winter of 1941, though still not out of his teens, Boy flew scores of missions as fighter escort on bombing missions over France. Yet the constant life-or-death stress of murderous combat and anguish over the loss of his closest friends sapped endurance. Tortured by fierce headaches, even in the midst of battle, he could not bear the thought of "not pulling your weight, " of letting the other pilots risk their lives in his place. Wellum's frank account of his long, losing bout with battle fatigue is both moving and enlightening."--BOOK JACKET.

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Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • List of Illustrations (p. xi)
  • Prologue (p. xiii)
  • 1. Ab Initio (p. 1)
  • 2. Ad Astra (p. 26)
  • 3. Fighter Squadron (p. 90)
  • 4. First Light (p. 133)
  • 5. Mars, God of War (p. 159)
  • 6. Brief Encounter (p. 174)
  • 7. Parting Day (p. 186)
  • 8. Snappers About (p. 199)
  • 9. Convoy Pair (p. 209)
  • 10. Over There (p. 248)
  • 11. White Cliffs (p. 262)
  • 12. Twilight (p. 284)
  • 13. Beyond the Hill (p. 288)
  • 14. Return to the Fray (p. 294)
  • 15. Operation Pedestal (p. 306)
  • 16. White Clouds (p. 330)
  • Epilogue (p. 337)