Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
First Light (Penguin World War II Collection) Paperback – International Edition, September 22, 2009
|New from||Used from|
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Two months before the outbreak of the Second World War, seventeen-year-old Geoffrey Wellum becomes a fighter pilot with the RAF. Desperate to get in the air, he makes it through basic training to become the youngest Spitfire pilot in the prestigious 92 Squadron. Thrust into combat almost immediately, Wellum finds himself flying several sorties a day, caught up in terrifying dogfights with German Me 109s. Over the coming months he and his fellow pilots play a crucial role in the Battle of Britain. But of the friends that take to the air alongside Wellum many never return.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In today's military, student pilots wouldn't be allowed near an airplane until completeing four years of college. It's remarkable to see what Geoffrey Wellum and his contemporaries did in their teens. Anyone wishing to know what it was like to fly a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain will find their curiousity satisfied by reading this outstanding book.
His story starts out when he was a teenager in the summery days of his last year of public school with his chums and cricket and then his enlistment as an 18-year old civilian pilot-trainee in the R.A.F. He takes you into the cockpit with him and you see what it was like to fly a Gypsy Moth biplane; you learn what it was like to fly a Harvard trainer; and you meet the older, sharp-as-a-razor flight instructors who taught and trained him. Before he finished the last phases of his training he was yanked out of flight school and sent to a Spitfire squadron because of the extreme need for pilots in the opening Battle of Britain . There is a hilarious moment when he first meets the commanding officer of the squadron and is asked if he's EVER flown a Spitfire and he replies that no, his instructors wouldn't even let him look at one.
He tells you about the patrols and dogfights and comrades lost; the escort missions with bombers over France. After the Battle of Britain wound down he was posted to besieged Malta where he ferried in a Spitfire squadron and continued air combat as Flight Commander.
At this point he was 20 years old, one of the most seasoned fighter pilots with hundreds of dogfights and patrols, had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by King George, and was on the verge of burning out. He was posted back to England where he was an R.A.F. test pilot.
Wellum's story is simply told and almost belies his heroic stature. He had done more in a few short years in his youth than most people do in a lifetime. The story is awe-inspiring.
Added note: In 2010, to commemorate the Battle of Britain the BBC broadcast a television drama called `First Light' based on the book. The DVD is available at Amazon:First Light DVD