In 1939 and 1940 thousands of young men decided that they would have to take up arms for their country in the war against Germany. Charles Collins was just one of them, and this is the story of his war, told in his own words through his diary, his journal and his letters home to his family. The work has been edited by his son, with commentary and also included are extracts from Squadron Operations Record Books and other official papers.Together they put the events and places described into context.
The frustrations and delays of early RAF training led to the eventual award of the brevet of an Air Observer. Surviving the debacle that was his first operational flight with an Australian Squadron, he went on to fly all over North Africa, first in a maritime patrol role, and later on a transport squadron. With that squadron he supported the invasion of Sicily and southern Italy before being moved to India to support operations by the Chindits.
Troubled for years by an eye injury, he eventually underwent a series of operations which threatened his fitness to continue as aircrew in the RAF and he had finally to face the prospect of being grounded.
Charles Collins’ account will strike a poignant chord among ex servicemen. At the same time it provides a fascinating record of life lived by RAF aircrew during World War II.