They Gave Me A Seafire
by Commander R.M. ‘Mike’ Crosley DSC* RN
Published: August 2014
A classic in every sense of the word, the re-issuing of this book is sure to provoke an enthusiastic response.
First published in 1986 by Airlife, its publishing history has seen a great number of glowing reviews
generated, coming from both historians and participants in the proceedings that the author so eloquently relays.
The book charts Crosley’s service career in the Fleet Air Arm during the entire period of the Second World
War. Part of his service saw him in action aboard HMS Eagle, flying Sea Hurricanes on the Harpoon and
Pedestal Malta convoys of June and August 1942. It was during this time that he shot down his first enemy
aircraft and survived the dramatic sinking of HMS Eagle. From there he graduated on to Seafires, (the Naval
equivalent of the Spitfire), and flew this type in Combat Air Patrols over Norway and ramrod strikes from
Operation Torch (the invasion of French North Africa in November 1942), through to D-Day in June 1944 in
the European Theatre of Operations, and then in the Pacific abroad HMS Implacable as part of the British
Pacific Fleet in 1945 until the end of the Pacific War, by which time he had command of his own combined
squadron, 801 and 880.
The narrative is well written in a frank and often scathingly critical way of Fleet Air Arm operations during the
Second World War and beyond. The book looks set to bring the endeavours of Crosley to a whole new
generation of enthusiasts, and it should appeal across the board to fans of aviation, naval history and families
and friends of Armed Forces, past and present.