Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 6, 2019 12:34:42 GMT 12
Graham Clayton's new book 'Gone The Dark Night', which follows on from his 2008 book 'Last Stand in Singapore', covering the history of No. 488 (NZ) Squadron after they reformed in Europe as a night fighter unit, is now available on Amazon.
Yep 'Gone the Dark Night' is finally launched after many, many months of trying to find a suitable publisher. Simon Hepworth of 'Mention the War Publications', a UK publisher stepped up and has made a fine job. We decided to use for better or worse the Amazon on call print system which effectivelly rules out seeing any copies of my book in local retailers unfortunately. The 488 story can be sourced on line at Amazon.Com either the American company or throught Amazon USA. The American postage seems to be a couple of dollars cheaper. Even with postage from USA added on I was pleased to find the Amazon prices on a par with equivalent sized and quality books found on the book shelves here.
Nearly nine years of research has gone into this book to ensure that I had covered the full and complete history of 488 (NZ) Squadron history which is the story of the re-formed squadron based in the UK & Europe as a Night Fighter Squadron. Known as the forgotten squadron here in New Zealand they had a hugely successful campaign against the German Luftwaffe with the use of the Bristol Beaufighter and more famously the De Havilland Mosquito. It is a story of bravery and committment against great odds and the most unimaginable weather conditions at night. It is a good read.
Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 13, 2019 14:38:33 GMT 12
Graham, the book cover states No. 488 (NZ) Squadron was New Zealand's first night fighter unit, but wasn't No. 486 (NZ) Squadron (formed 7 March 1942) initially a night fighter squadron using black Hurricanes and in co-operation with the turbinlite Bostons? That's three months before 488 reformed in Britain.
Well spotted Dave H, I also recall reading the ORB of 486, and it was quite specific about its intended role. Of course the "Turnbinlite" Bostons (I think these models were actually called Havocs, but that is a small matter in the greater scheme of things) were not a great success, but the intent was there! David D
I seem to be having a bit of bother posting but will try again. At a risk of repeating myself here goes - I may well have to conceed the point but in my head I can hear Ron Watts saying to me a couple of years ago that he always considered 488 to be the first genuine Night Fighter squadron as 486 had little success with the Turbinlites but technically they very probably beat 488 to that distinction. The Turbinlite issue probably threw me off guard as well. I have searched without success for the official Article XV papers I had in my system but I now suspect that finding them may well increase my humiliation at claiming 488 to be the first off the mark.
I pass on my thanks also to you Dave on that great piece you wrote about Ron Watts and RAF 488(NZ) Sqn. which led to me visiting Ron in 2009 whilst in Hamilton for a wedding. Prior to that it was really hard to find out about the Squadron until you put us on to the National Library's 'Defence until Dawn' by Leslie Hunt...
It's really awesome that Graham has finally finished it & got it published & now available on Amazon, which I purchased straight away ! I'm just getting into reading it with great relish !
Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 25, 2019 15:26:01 GMT 12
Yes it was great to get Ron Watts' story recorded and shared. I had the great pleasure to later meet three other No. 488 (NZ) Squadron men too, pilots Reg Mitchell and Des Hyland, and observer Murray Richardson, who I was able to get to all sit at the same table at the Mosquito Launch Honour Dinner in 2012. Now they're all no longer with us. It was a huge privilege to have met them all.
Post by chinapilot on Mar 31, 2019 15:34:18 GMT 12
Interesting read and obviously a great deal of research.
To my mind it’s missing two major features of a history book - footnotes regarding the sources quoted ‘ further research’ doesn’t fulfill this and there is no index. Photo reproduction is not the best and probably too many irrelevant photos/illustrations.
It’s a pity that more details weren’t explored about the airfields used - Zeals in particular as there were special guidance lights to avoid the terrain that saved many crews.
To me it’s more a score card with very little of the human side of living in bases at that time.
Terrific that the history has been written up none the less and the author is to be thanked for that.
Last Edit: Mar 31, 2019 15:37:41 GMT 12 by chinapilot
I have managed to secure quantities of my book 'Gone the Dark Night' from the publisher Simon Hepworth for NZ & Aussie purchasers. The book can be purchased directly from his Website ' Mention the War Ltd' or his Email address email@example.com
Cost is NZ$29.00 plus NZ$5.50 postage or Au$27.50 plus Aus$13.50. Price enquiries for countries other than NZ or Australia should be directed to Simon at the above addresses. Discounts available for Retailers or bulk purchasers.
Delivery of books can now be made immediately from stocks I am holding here in NZ.
Well I have just finished re-reading my copy, agreed that an Index may have been useful, the footnotes regarding sources are a necessity today to 'avoid upsetting others-' However, here we are after all these years and although the photos etc. weren't in glorious HD Technicolour, I reckon Graham has done a SUPER job of putting this book together! -I have not seen so many photos of the Sqn. before, ever, and I'm bloody chuffed!
-As far as calling it a 'score card', I think that's bloody insulting, as one whose read just about all books written about WW2 Nightfighting (in particular), the many, many long hours of training to get skilled & then on to active service, long patrols, the risks massively quantified by the fact it's at night & not by day, factoring in the whole array of exceptionally bad weather conditions that these men were challenged with, as along with their Bomber Command colleagues, these dangers shared also only with the reconnaissance pilots/aircrew ~ As to the 'human side of living on bases', he has covered much of that, you must have skimped through the book! -I don't know what is expected after all these years! Many other books written about Nightfighting have covered that -
New Zealanders should be bloody proud to purchase and read this book, it is the ONLY full and best testament to " Our forgotten 488 Sqn." (apart from Leslie Hunt's 'Defence until Dawn' which is a great 'insight' of his time as the Sqn's Intelligence Officer) - Graham wrote the book of 488's travesty in Singapore and has now followed through with the rest of the Squadron's history, started a couple of months later in the UK, in as comprehensively as could possibly be done, albeit from those Sqn. members who have written personal accounts, listed by Graham in his Bibliography - There is stuff in there that I haven't yet read, so I for one are grateful Graham, for those! -I do know I have read at least 10 of them though, and I can recommend another book, Bob Braham's "Scramble" if one wishes to learn about the 'Serrate' nightfighting system mentioned in 'Gone The Dark Night' -
I visited W/C Ron Watts a few months before he passed away and spent 4 hours chatting away with him - A wonderful man, he was a training instructor before joining 488 Sqn. telling me all about getting these young pilots struggling to master the Beaufighter II's with their twin Merlin engines, he said it was really easy when you got the knack!- He lead the Squadron from Nov. 1944 from Hunsdon, UK, carrying out the Sqn's move over to the continent and right on through to the end of the War - He was most bitter at the way the RAF disbanded them, but I'm sure when Dave interviewed him, and I visited him, and others too, Graham's writing of this book has done him huge justice for his most splendid service ~
I consider this book a huge contribution to NZ's WW2 Squadrons' aviation history, written many years after the conflict unlike all the other Squadrons' books, and also unlike the other books it doesn't have the pretty colour photos and fancy pictorial logo plastic-covered hard-back style of say, 485 & 486's books, but it has a full, thick in-depth compilation of RAF 488 (NZ) Squadron's tenure - It also conveys the feeling of the high morale it maintained through the times of each CO's command, the professionalism of ALL it members, from the cooks & clerks, NAAFI ladies, the entire Groundcrew and all the Aircrew; the Whole Lot, incoming, outgoing, MIA, KIA, through each and every Base they shifted to, to how they tackled the different enemy aircraft of the Luftwaffe with each and every new electronic device devised for them to assist in chasing them out of Britain's skies, back into Occupied Europe and back into Germany: a beaten & defeated foe ~
A book well worth buying to learn of the 'secret squadron's' war work, their four 20mm cannons ripping Luftwaffe raiders out of the European skies, these 'wooden wonders' that today OUR aircraft restorers here in NZ are now putting back into the skies....
Thank you Dave for your review of Gone The Dark Night. I was rather down about that particular critical review you were responding to and appreciate your support and those of our Forum that have commented. I published with limited means and would have liked to have had a better quality publication but it was very important to me to get the 488 story out there to meet my committment to the my oldies who were very keen to have thier story told. The book is selling very well in all parts of the world and surviving members of 488 Squadron from as far afield as the USA and Ypres in Belgium have responded. I have supplies in stock of both my earlier book 'Last Stand in Singapore'and 'Gone the Dark Night. Any enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org My apologies for my very late response to your post. I have to admit that your post lifted my spirits somewhat! Many thanks.