This book presents "in broad outline the developments of the air battle in the past year", and underlines "the principal flaps and bashes, of the RAAF" Like "These Eagles" it does not claim to tell the complete story of the RAAF during year but it does include the story of battles as well as a number of literary contributions "by various blokes in the Service who have found the time and talent to write or draw". Contributors of photographs and sketches are acknowledged by their service number.
The articles cover a wide range of battle areas and items of interest – Pacific Front, Milne Bay, Bismarck Sea Battle, Timor Treks, Beaufighters, War Against U-Boats, Spits & Typhies, and RAAF Guide to Solomons to name a few.
Though space did not permit the editors to list in detail the official citations to all awards won in the last twelve months, in one article, On the Side of Glory, "a few have been selected, more or less at random. They do not give even a cross section of the whole, but must suffice as showing the gallantry of all sections of the air fighting force".
Sergeant George Aldon Downton, twenty-five, of Hampden, Victoria, gained the C.G.M. as a wireless operator-air gunner. His bomber was engaged near Cap Bon, Tunisia, by ten enemy aircraft. In the combat, Downton was wounded three times, and one of his guns was put out of action. Despite this he coolly directed his pilot in taking evasive action until the aircraft could no longer be flown and was landed on fire in enemy territory. With complete disregard for his own safety, Downton, who had escaped serious injury in the crash, entered the blazing wreckage and assisted in extricating a member of the crew who was badly burned. He then tried valiantly to re-enter the rear of the bomber to rescue still another trapped comrade, but was finally beaten back by the intense heat of the fire.
A list of all honours and awards (including foreign awards) granted to Australians serving in the RAF or RAAF is given in a separate Honour Roll.M.
As with other books in the series there is an excellent selection of colour and black and white photographs and sketches highlighting people, places and planes – including images of the Wirraway, Zero, Sikorsky Kingfisher, Boston, Catalina, Lancaster, Beaufort, Beaufighter and Liberator. It is a valuable resource and a great read for all interested in military history.
This CD contains high quality scanned images of the original book, and has been bookmarked for easy navigation. Pages can be searched, browsed, enlarged and printed out if required.