Book Review – An Expendable Squadron, The Story of 217 Squadron Coastal Command 1939 – 1945

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There are occasions in reviewing new books where there is a mixture of sadness and gratitude. This is one such book. The author died this year and that is sad because he did not see the reaction to his writing or receive the deserved recognition of strong sales of what is a particularly important book that tells a story much neglected. Gratitude, because he provides a highly detailed account of a single squadron in Coastal Command during WWII. It is a fitting memorial to him and to his comrades, but it is also a very appropriate tribute to all in Coastal Command who made the most of resources restricted by a neglectful political class and an air force command that believed primarily in strategic bombing and point defence land-based interceptors. Coastal Command crews flew long, cold, noisy missions, often without any other aircraft and in weather conditions that would have grounded other aircraft. They also flew into withering enemy fire and pressed home their attacks with outstanding courage.

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