Spitfire Books


By CF Rawnsley & Robert Wright

Signed by John Cunningham & Jimmy Rawnsley


    ‘Night Fighter’ signed on the half title page by

     John Cunningham
    CF Rawnsley

    Collins First edition, first impression 1957. 382 pages and well illustrated with photographs.

    Very Good condition hardback book in black boards book and a Very Good condition unclipped dustjacket.  The book is clean, solidly bound and square. There is a very light mottling to the first few pages and the text block has a light ripple which is a characteristic feature of the first edition of this book.

    Group Captain John ‘Cats-Eyes’ Cunningham DSO** OBE DFC*
    joined 604 Squadron RAuxAF in 1935 at the age of 18.  He spent 3 years at the Technical School of the de Havilland Aircraft Company and in 1938 became a junior test pilot. Soon after the outbreak of war he became a Flight Commander in 604 Squadron and in 1941 he was given command of the Squadron, now specialising in night fighting.  He later commanded 85 Squadron on night intruder work and was Group Captain Night Ops at 11 Group.  After the war he returned to head de Havilland’s flight test department and for many years was one of Britain’s leading and most famous test pilots.

    Squadron Leader CF ‘Jimmy’ Rawnsley DSO DFC DFM*
    served as air-gunner and then as navigator/radar operator to John Cunningham, the leading RAF n
    ight fighter pilot of the Second World War, and flew with him from 1937 until 1945. It was a combination that paid a considerable dividend – 17 victories together. When Cunningham became the CO, Rawnsley became Navigator Leader of the Squadron. 

    In 1943 Rawnsley was awarded the DSO and the citation read:As observer, Flight Lieutenant Rawnsley has participated in more than 200 sorties and his brilliant work is beyond praise. He has assisted in the destruction of 17 enemy aircraft, 16 of them at night. In addition to his work in the Air, Flight Lieutenant Rawnsley has devoted much service towards the training of other members of aircraft and his efforts have been attended with excellent results. Flight Lieutenant Rawnsley has rendered invaluable service’. Jimmy Rawnsley died in 1965 making his a rare Battle of Britain signature.

    Johnnie Johnson reviewed the book and wrote: ‘A great story: not only of night fighting but also of the hazards of seeking and stalking in the darkened skies. So entirely different from the quick thrust and parry of our own daylight duels against the Luftwaffe.’

    ‘Night Fighter‘ is the classic account of the night war over Britain neatly signed by the two main subjects of the book – a rare and highly collectable addition to any Battle of Britain or aviation library.