|One Flight Too Many: The unusual saga of a young photographic Spitfire pilot inWW2– and its aftermath|
|Tuesday, 26 June 2012 00:00|
(by Jimmy Taylor; ISBN 978-0-9572210-0-0; Published by Greystones Publishing, distributed by York Publishing Services Ltd, 64 Hallfield Road, Layerthorpe, York YO31 7ZQ; 8½in x 12in hardback; 756 pages, illustrated; £27.50 (plus £8.80 postage in the UK)
THIS VERY THICK weighty tome was simply a delight to see. Author Jimmy Taylor was a photographic reconnaissance pilot flying Supermarine Spitfires in the Second World War, and is also an Aeroplane contributor.
By reading the book you will get a clear description of what was involved in this type of wartime flying, from the aircraft and cameras Jimmy Taylor used to how a photo-recce sortie was planned, how he navigated his way to enemy targets in occupied Europe and Germany alone, unarmed and often in bad weather, and the techniques used to take the pictures. He also outlines the operations of 16 Sqn as a whole, which includes information on a wartime photographic section which dealt with his films after a sortie – this is something I was particularly interested to read as a comparison, that being my trade while serving in the RAF during the 1980s and 1990s.
One of the 43 chapters is entitled My Operations – the Full Story. This has entries from the squadron operations record book, the author’s logbook, the line book and from his diary. It makes for a fascinating insight into the daily life of a wartime photo-recce pilot. The last entry is for November 19, 1944, when Jimmy’s Spitfire suffered an engine failure and he was forced to bale out, subsequently becoming a prisoner of war.
The book is also Jimmy Taylor’s (by Jimmy Taylor; ISBN 978-0-9572210-0-0; Published by Greystones Publishing, distributed by York Publishing Services Ltd, 64 Hallfield Road, Layerthorpe, York YO31 7ZQ; 8½in x 12in hardback; 756 pages, illustrated; £27.50 (plus £8.80 postage in the UK) autobiography, so describes his early life, his pilot training in America, and his post-war life including the return to the site of his Spitfire’s crash in Holland. Of note, there is a perceptive Foreword by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Pictures are black-and-white throughout, but there are more than 700 of them!
For such a large book with so many pages, I think it is of great credit to all involved that the price has been kept below £30. There is plenty of fascinating reading inside it, and I congratulate the author on producing such a massive piece of work written with such a great deal of modesty.JARROD COTTER