The biography of Richard Hillary
Inscribed & signed on the title page by the author
at the Duxford book launch, September 2000
+ Signed by 4 Battle of Britain Pilots from 603 Squadron
mentioned in the book
Basil ‘Stapme’ Stapleton
+ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, who wrote the foreword
Grub Street First edition 2000. 399 pages and well illustrated with photographs
Fine condition book with a Fine condition dustjacket. Nearly as new.
Richard Hillary was born in Australia in 1919 and brought up in England. Oxford educated, an oarsman of repute and a member of the University Air Squadron, he was a writer foremost who was also a fighter pilot. When WWII came he joined 603 Sqn and fought well in the Battle of Britain, becoming an ace. His life changed when he was shot down in September 1940, suffering severe burns to his face and hands. During a long and painful recovery he wrote the wartime classic ‘The Last Enemy’, an outstanding literary contribution.
Anxious to return to flying, he pushed himself to the limit and was killed when his Blenheim crashed in ‘mysterious’ circumstances on 8 January 1943. He was aged only 23. He had by then become a legend, a courageous hero, not without his faults, around whom a cult following has developed. In 1996, he was one of the subjects in Sebastian Faulks’ book ‘The Fatal Englishman’ and although much has been written about this important figure, many errors have been perpetrated.
Over years, David Ross has patiently researched all relevant papers and documents, including from the Richard Hillary Trust Archive in Oxford, and talked at length to Hillary’s contemporaries. This eminently readable, first complete biography with many previously unseen photos sets the record straight.
A well researched and written Battle of Britain biography enhanced by the signatures of four of Hillary’s squadron contemporaries.