Heroes of Coastal Command: The RAF's Maritime War 1939 - 1945

Heroes of Coastal Command: The RAF's Maritime War 1939 - 1945

by Andrew D Bird


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Thirty was the number of minutes it took for one Coastal Command crew to sink two U-boats. This remarkable achievement was carried out by the crew of Flying Officer Kenneth ‘Kayo’ Moore in their 224 Squadron Liberator on the evening of 7/8 June 1944. Whilst patrolling the western end of the English Channel, Moore’s crew first dispatched U-629, followed, just under thirty minutes later, by U-373. The story of this remarkable engagement is just one of many recounted by the author in Heroes of Coastal Command.

Established in 1936, Coastal Command was the RAF’s only maritime arm. Throughout the war, its crews worked tirelessly alongside the Royal Navy to keep Britain’s vital sea lanes open. Together, they fought and won the Battle of the Atlantic, with RAF aircraft destroying 212 German U-Boats and sinking a significant tonnage of enemy warships and merchant vessels.

Often working alone and unsupported, undertaking long patrols out over opens seas, Coastal Command bred a special kind of airman. Alongside individuals such as Kenneth Moore, there were Allan Trigg, Kenneth Campbell and John Cruickshank, all of whom were awarded the Victoria Cross; Norman Jackson-Smith, a Blenheim pilot who flew in the Battle of Britain; Jack Davenport, who flew his Hampden to Russia; John Watson, the sole survivor of a Short Sunderland which was lost during a rescue mission; Sam McHardy, a Coastal Command ground coordinator posted aboard a Royal Navy destroyer for a raid on Norway in 1941; and Ken Gatward, who flew a unique daylight mission over Paris to drop a Tricolore on the Arc de Triomphe. Theirs are just some of the many action-packed stories revealed by the author.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781526710697
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 11/13/2019
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Andrew Bird was born in Woodley and studied at Reading College of Art and Design. Having served in the Royal Air Force Reserves, he has written for a number of newspapers and magazines. The author of A Separate Little War and Coastal Dawn, Andrew has also written, presented or acted as a historical consultant in documentaries, for BBC Radio and Television, Channel 4, and NRK in Norway.

Andrew also featured as one of the subjects in the internationally acclaimed artist Dryden Goodwin’s exhibition ‘Open Spaces’. Married with a daughter and son, he lives in Reading.

Table of Contents

Foreword x

Author's Note xii

Chapter 1 Wing Commander 'Jack' Davenport AC, DSO, DFC*, GM - 455 Squadron 1

Chapter 2 Wing Commander Edric 'Sam' McHardy DSO, DFC* CdeG Someone on my Shoulder 18

Chapter 3 Flying Officer Lloyd Trigg VC DFC Consolidated Courage 50

Chapter 4 Group Captain Gage 'Bill' Sise DSO* DFC* 66

Chapter 5 Flight Lieutenant Dennis Healy DSO NWC - High Arctic Flight 92

Chapter 6 Lieutenant Colonel Jean Maurice Guedj DSO, DFC* 118

Chapter 7 Wing Commander Roger Morewood MID 141

Chapter 8 Flying Officer Allan Triggs MBE, DFC and Flying Officer John Watson 167

Chapter 9 Flight Lieutenant 'Ken' Gatward DSO, DFC* and Sergeant Gilbert 'George' Fern 194

Glossary 228

Notes 231

Selected Sources 243

Select Bibliography 257

Acknowledgements 259

Index 261

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