Well blow me down and call me legless….I finished proofing my book of Dad’s letters yesterday and my (very cheap) proof reader (Mum) picked up a few things I’d missed. So last night I drew a deep breath and uploaded it to Smashwords. I didn’t do much publicity as it was about 11.15pm by the time I finished. However I did tweet and post on Facebook and post on two forums where people had indicated they were interested. One is a WWII forum, so you have to think they are a target audience. I noticed that in the ten minutes it took to do that, 5 copies had been downloaded. Went to bed and dreamed about massive downloads!
Woke up this morning at 6am and logged on. “Now don’t be disappointed if it is still 5 copies, it takes time and there is a lot more publicity to do.” 45 copies!! And it is now up to 48 copies in 8 hours. Good grief!! I feel very excited that Dad’s wonderful words are being read around the world. I have now put it on Amazon as well and have a lot of updating sites to do. So I can not linger, I must away and spread the word.
If you want to have a read about WWII through the eyes of a young man, it is free here..
It was a perfect summer day with no cloud visible as we crossed the French coast in squadron formation, at 15,000 feet, and turned behind Boulogne on to a westerly course towards Le Touquet. I could see the countryside below us and was gripped by a feeling of exhilaration, tinged with a heightened awareness. The next turn on the patrol line was to port and I can clearly remember looking back to see Dick behind me, he was on the outside of the turning squadron at the end of the line of four aircraft. At that very moment a cloud of smoke appeared from his aircraft. He’d obviously received cannon shells in the petrol tank and cockpit. Simultaneously I heard a noise exactly like a stick dragged along a corrugated iron fence and felt my aircraft shudder heavily. There was a heavy bump behind me and I saw a ME 109 diving away inland.
My aircraft went into a steep dive and no matter what I did I couldn’t counteract the spin and regain control. My immediate thought was that I should bail out. I prepared to do so by unhooking the radio connection and opening the canopy. However at the last possible minute I managed to recover control and dived down to ground level to find myself over a small village a few miles inland from Le Touquet. I will always recall vividly the sight of a squad of German soldiers in grey uniforms standing in a village square as I approached at high speed. They all raised their rifles and fired at me but my speed saved me, although some holes were later found in the fuselage. My reaction was to fly as low as possible on a northerly course across the English Channel. We’d been told to fly right over the water if separated as this would make it difficult for an enemy fighter to fire at our aircraft. It’s necessary to depress the nose right on sea level to line up a target directly ahead. However I was vulnerable to an enemy fighter diving on me even at sea level.
Then I noticed that the port wing had been damaged by a shell and was cut off at the aileron, with about three feet having been lost. The effect of this was not apparent at high speed but I knew it would adversely affect my stalling speed and I had no option but to land at a higher speed than normal. Just as the White Cliffs of Dover appeared ahead I observed large splashes in the sea around me and looking up I saw a Spitfire climbing away. The pilot, a Pole as it turned out, had mistaken me for an enemy aircraft, probably because of the square wing effect on my port mainplane, which had been completely changed in appearance. Unless he recognised me I was in very real danger of being shot down and there was nothing I could do about it.