POLES in DEFENCE of BRITAIN
Polish Fighter Pilot Operations: July 1940 ~ June 1941
Signed by Polish Battle of Britain Pilots
Publisher’s Bookplate signed by Janusz Zurakowski
Bookplate signed by Ludwig Martel
Grub Street First Edition 2001. 294 pages, lots of photos and detailed appendices
Fine condition hardback book and dustjacket. Clean tight and bright.
Over 100 Polish fighter pilots escaped to Britain to carry on the fight despite the fall of their own country. This book is a detailed chronology of Polish fighter operations from the Battle of Britain to the start of the offensive into Europe. It includes detailed combat descriptions, personal accounts, biographies and offers a complete account of the incredible contribution these gallant pilots made to the defence and survival of the country which they called ‘Last Hope Island’.
‘Zura’ was a Polish fighter pilot who escaped to England and during the Battle of Britain flew Spitfires with 234 and 609 Squadrons. Later in the war he commanded 316 squadron and then became a Test Pilot with Gloster and then Avro Canada where he was Chief Test Pilot and was responsible for the ill fated Avro Arrow.
At the Farnborough airshow in 1951 he caused a storm by demonstrating the ‘Zurabatic cartwheel’ in a Meteor – an aerobatic manoevre that caused disbelief even amongst those who witnessed it! With superb piloting and engineering skills, Zura was one of the world’s great test pilots.
Ludwig Martel wrote the foreword to this book. After escaping to Britain he fought in the Battle of Britain with 54 and 603 Squadrons and later flew in the Western Desert as part of ‘Skalski’s Circus. Settling in Britain after the war, Martel was a prominent member and trustee of the Polish Air Force Association and passed away in 2010.
A comprehensive account of the Polish contribution to the Battle of Britain complemented by two excellent signatures.