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Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer
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A vivid and lyrical memoir of life as an RAF reconnaissance pilot during the Battle of France.

About the Author

Air Commodore Alastair Panton served in the Royal Air Force for thirty-five years. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Gallantry in 1940 and also received an OBE in 1950 and a CB in 1969. He ended his military service as Provost Marshal and Head of RAF Security. After his retirement, he became Steward of Penrhyn Castle in Wales and then ran a second-hand bookshop in North Yorkshire. Panton died in December 2002.

Reviews

This totally gripping account of the air war of May and June 1940 was written by one of the bravest of "The Few". Its short pages encompass all the timeless themes of war: comradeship, sacrifice, patriotism, fear, and sheer, raw courage. Panton's engaging and immediate prose style recalls the Battle of France in all its pity and tragedy, with his Mark IV Blenheim bomber as much a character in the story as any of his comrades. This deserves to join Reach for the Sky and The Last Enemy as one the great RAF books of the Second World War. -- ANDREW ROBERTS
This is a wonderfully vivid account of those forgotten heroes of 1940. It deserves to become one of the great aerial memoirs of the Second World War. It's an absolutely brilliant book -- JAMES HOLLAND
This is a gem of a memoir. An RAF pilot of rare tenacity and courage, Alistair Panton writes vividly but artlessly and with no hint of bravado about the grimly chaotic weeks of Dunkirk when he and his crew brushed with death in the sky most every day. His front-line story - humane, modest, and compassionate - inspires admiration to the point of awe -- JONATHAN DIMBLEBY
A hidden gem of a diary on a little known episode of the Second World War. It speaks to everyone with its drama, pathos, humour and above all, compassion. It should be read by every history student -- PAUL BEAVER, author of SPITFIRE PEOPLE
Simply wonderful. One of the best accounts of WWII that I have ever read -- JOHN NICHOL
The soldiers on the Dunkirk beaches who jeered the RAF for not making their presence felt in the skies above them would have cheered if they had read this stirring vivid account of the torment suffered by one of Britain's most heroic pilots during the battle for France in May to June 1940. -- HUGH SEBAG-MONTEFIORE
It is the best account of the chaos and confusion of war outside the pages of Evelyn Waugh -- BORIS JOHNSON
One can't help feeling awe and reverence. There are enough adventures here for a lifetime, let alone six weeks -- LOUIS DE BERNIERES
An amazing story of bravery and courage in the air and on the ground -- GENERAL THE LORD DANNATT
This story grips you by the lapels and sometimes by the throat, and all who love tales of war will devour every page -- MATTHEW PARRIS
Extraordinary ... The clarity of this book is as surprising as its humanity ... both great drama and poignant social commentary ... His story deserves to be told * THE TIMES *
What comes over is the extraordinary life of these airmen, who were living in care-free comfort one moment and dying horrible deaths only a few minutes later * SHROPSHIRE STAR *

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