Author(s): Max Lambert
In his bestselling Night after Night, Max Lambert wrote about New Zealanders in Bomber Command. In this long-awaited companion volume, he features their daytime counterparts - fighter pilots who fought in Europe, Asia and the Pacific during World War Two. From the mid-1930s to 1945, young New Zealanders in their hundreds trained as fighter pilots. Initially outnumbered, outgunned and effectively lambs to the slaughter, they were an intrepid part of Churchill's celebrated few, defending Britain and her allies. Against huge odds they were an integral part of the RAF as it fought and won the Battle of Britain and finally cleared the skies in all major theatres of aerial conflict. Their exploits were legendary, and their names celebrated: Cobber Caine, Alan Deere, Colin Gray and Bill Compton among them. Many were also highly decorated - Des Scott, Hawkeye Wells, Ray Hesslyn, Johnnie Checketts and Evan Mackie were popularly known as 'aces'. While many featured in post-war biographies, this is the first book to include them all, as well as the lesser known whose contributions were just as significant. Covering campaigns in France and Holland, as well as North Africa and besieged Malta and the record-breaking achievements of a Kiwi pilot with the highest Commonwealth tally against the Japanese, this absorbing tribute to our fighter pilots is long overdue.
Max Lambert is a retired senior journalist who worked for many years at NZPA. A passionate collector of aviation stories, and author of the bestselling Night after Night, he lives in Wellington.