Listed below are a number of biographies and autobiographies of airman who at one time operated and served with No.218 Squadron. Amongst them are three classics, Miles Tripps EIGHT PASSANGER is recognised as one of the great books on Bomber Command aircrew. This is closely followed by Bill Jacksons THREE STRIPES AND FOUR BROWNINGS and “Dickie” Austin’s HIGH ADVENTURE. The squadron was fortunate in that amongst its ranks were some literary scholars, not bad for a 3 Group front line bomber squadron! Thankfully the trend as continued, in 2013 Ron Warburton published a great little book on his time at RAF Chedburgh.
The opinions and comments are of the author and are not that of the association.
One of Butch’s Boys: The World War II Exploits of Allen Clifford, a Navigator with 218 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command
In For a Penny, In For a Pound: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Wireless Operator in Bomber Command.
The gripping story of the twentieth century’s greatest struggle in the modest voice of a Canadian teenager in the RAF. In 1940, nineteen-year-old Howard Hewer dreamed of being the next Billy Bishop, of piloting Spitfires or Hurricanes over Europe. His dream was shattered when he was selected instead for a career as a wireless operator in Bomber Command.
A Man with Nine Lives : Squadron Leader Geoff Rothwell DFC. A fascinating and gripping account of an ex-Bomber Command & Special Duties squadron leader pilot in World War II which terminated in a crash on the Dutch Island of Texel and subsequent Prisoner-of-War camps. One of 218 Squadron most respected pilots and captains.
High Adventure : R. L Austen. A true classic. Covers operational training in the Wellington and the Short Stirling at Stradishall, conversion to the Lancaster at Felwell before his first opertaional posting to Bomber Command 3 Group’s 218 Squadron at Methwold, later posted to Chedburgh, completing one tour before the end of the war.
Three Stripes and Four Brownings : Bill Jackson : Another classic book. This book revolves around Sergeant Bill Jackson and his crew who served with the squadron during late 1942 early 1943. This is perhaps the best book on the squadron yet. A compelling book that describes with some skill the day-to-day dangers and perils of operational flying. The author, the crews rear gunner describes with some degree of realism the fears and dangerous encountered by a Bomber Command crew. Told in a forthright and gritty manner the book describes the camaraderie and closeness of the crew both in the air and on the ground.
The Eighth Passenger : Miles Tripp. When this master piece was first published it was acclaimed as one of the most remarkable first-hand accounts of combat flying in the Second World War. Over the years the author has learned much, which for security reasons, he could not have known at the time of the book’s first publication.
Bomber Commander: Don Saville DSO, DFC – ‘The Mad Australian : F Chappel. Wing Commander Donald Teale Saville DSO, DFC joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1927. From 1932 until 1939 he flew and tested private aircraft, was a flying instructor and then a Captain-pilot with Australian National Airways. In 1936, at the age of 36 years, he volunteered for the RAF whilst on holiday in England. Because of his age he was posted to the Ferry Pool Service and eventually became its Commanding Officer. In 1941 he dropped rank from Squadron Leader to Flight Lieutenant to join Bomber Command, and in December of that year joined No 458 RAAF Squadron flying Wellington’s as a Flight Commander. In 1942 he was appointed to command another Wellington squadron, No 104, at Kabrit in Egypt. He was awarded the DFC for daring operations whilst flying from Malta against enemy airfields and ports. In March 1943 he took command of No 218 Squadron at Downham Market flying somewhat elderly Short Stirlings and at a time of intolerable losses. In July 1943 he went missing on the first mass bombing raid on Hamburg. He made the supreme sacrifice by holding his burning aircraft steady while four of his crew escaped by parachute. He was known affectionately as ‘The Mad Aussie’ and was reputed to have flown 10,000 flying hours. He was fifteen or so years older than most of his aircrews and was probably the oldest pilot in Bomber Command. At the time of his loss he was in was on his third tour of operations. This is the story of a man who carried leadership by example and was renowned as an exceptionally skilled, daring and confident aviator.
Ron’s War : Ron Warburton : The Personal Chronicle of a Flight Engineer of a Lancaster in Wartime. Why, at 80 years of age, did I write this book? My fellow Flight Engineers are rarely mentioned, except occasionally in passing, in historical war books. Our role was barely acknowledged in the film of the Dam Busters. This book is dedicated to all my fellow Flight Engineers, the unsung heroes of Bomber Command.
Your Loving Son : Letter from an RCAF Navigator : Stephen L.V King : As the title says letters sent home by a young RCAF navigator from RAF Downham Market.
A Fishy Tale : Robert Kirk ; Flew Lancaster’s from RAF Chedburgh. During peace and war, by day and night, in canal, lake, sea and river; the author fished. This title discusses his life and times in the angling business. It presents the story of a passion for fishing that spans eighty years.
The Time of My Life : Jack Dickinson : Wireless Operator Jack Dickinson served with No.218 squadron and is one of a small group of survivors who helped formed No.623 squadron in the summer of 1943. Fortunate in having one of the most experienced pilots on the squadron Jack graphically recalls his life and dangers on the squadron. Shot down in August 1943 the final part of the book describes his imprisonment and the terrible conditions suffered by the RAF Prisoners of War. An honest and forthright book.
Royal Air Force 1941 – 1945 : Spud Taylor DFC I had the pleasure of knowing “Spud” Taylor before his untimely death. In the time I knew him I had the privilege to read his diary from which this book originates. This small book privately published by the family gives a brief taste of the man and his extraordinary RAF Career. Spud completed his first tour with No.218 & 90 Squadron after a rather shaky start in 1943, on his return to operations in late 1944 he served with No.149 (East India) Squadron