Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 4, 2020 11:16:24 GMT 12
A book has just been released concerning New Zealanders in an elite RAF unit of World War II.
Through to the End is the story of 487 (NZ) Squadron.
No Allied air force unit of World War II had a more dramatic history than 487. It flew in some of the war’s most famous air raids: low-level strikes on the Philips factory in Eindhoven, a prison in Amiens, Gestapo headquarters at Aarhus and Copenhagen, and SS units in France. On one raid the squadron lost all 11 aircraft dispatched and Kiwi pilot Leonard Trent was awarded the Victoria Cross. A third of 487’s aircrew died on these and its ‘routine’ operations. While featuring dramatic firsthand accounts of raids and some breathtaking combat descriptions, Through to the End also follows several representative squadron members from civilian life, through their induction and training and into combat, with details of service life that show what it was actually like to fly on an RAF squadron in World War II.
Post by errolmartyn on Jan 4, 2020 14:25:24 GMT 12
I highly recommend this book. Well-written and beautifully produced, it is without doubt the best history published to date of any WWII RNZAF squadron,in my opinion.
Author: Swift to the Sky – New Zealand’s Military Aviation History Author/publisher: For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 & A Passion For Flight - New Zealand aviation before the Great War. Publisher of Gp Capt C M Hanson’s By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999
I ordered a copy of this book from David as it sounded both a well researched and written book, but also subject matter I was very interested in given the connections between No.487(NZ)Squadron RAF and No.268 Squadron RAF (the latter of which I am the historian for). Has lived up to all my expectations given the earlier reviews and certainly one of the better Squadron histories written and published to date. I particularly like the degree of detail about the personnel and the analysis and setting out of the key operations in the Squadron's history. As they say here in Australia, "Do yourself a favour, and buy this one" if you are interested in RNZAF and WW2 aviation history.
Colin Ford Canberra, Australia Historian, No.268 Squadron Royal Air Force, 1940-1946
Baz bought me this book for my birthday. I've been slowly working my way through it and it's been my 'go to' lock down reading.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The detail of the unit's history, it's personnel and operations takes you through highs, and lows. My admiration for the greatest generation who fought in the terrible conflict is renewed more strongly as I read each chapter.
Their low level ops in Mosquitos are a particular highlight. The 'famous' ops we associate with 487 Squadron are enthralling, but to the fliers themselves, they are 'just another op'.
A great tribute to this unit and the men who served with her. We will remember them.
Only one wee printing blue of duplicated text on one page is the only blemish on this fine publication.
Last Edit: Apr 29, 2020 9:42:12 GMT 12 by obiwan27
Well I've finished reading this very impressive publication. It's a fantastic, if sobering read. From the tragedy of Ramrod 17 to the resurrection of the squadron, newly equipped with Mosquitos and on to ever more daring and dangerous ops over occupied Europe and into Germany. It's a fabulous tribute to all who served in the RAF and this unit in particular during WW2. I felt tremendous sorrow reading through the lists of details of all the young men who served with this unit, a very large portion of whom were killed on ops. Many are at rest in Europe or lost forever somewhere undiscovered as they failed to return from an op. In addition there are the many Dutch and Danish civilians who lost their lives as a consequence of many of these ops.
This book ensures that we will remember them.
Last Edit: May 8, 2020 15:59:14 GMT 12 by obiwan27
Ken (Obiwan27) kindly loaned me this to read....well he had to really I did buy it for his birthday! I have just read the part about the disastrous mission to bomb the Amsterdam power station resulted in 10 of the 11 Venturas being shot down by fighters (with one almost getting away but got hit by flak) and only one made it back to England badly shot up. (I think of the of the 44 men only 12 survived) I cannot recommend this book highly enough as the story about this mission was stitched together by in-depth research and you find out what happened to each aircraft and it's crew. I found it sobering to see (killed) beside so many of their names and looking at photographs of these men taken either with their crews or at home in NZ with family. I have certainly learned a lot about 2 Group and was fascinated to learn it went from being part of Bomber Command (and feeling a bit lost as to what it's role actually was) and ending up becoming part of Fighter Command and 2 TAF. After reading the gloom that hung over the surviving crews of 487 after that terrible raid, it brought a smile to my face when in the Squadron diary it was mentioned that now the Squadron was now part of Fighter Command there was now a large number of battle dress being worn with the top button undone! (A tradition of Fighter pilots started early in the war) Now re-equipped with the Mosquito and with a more defined role for the Group I look forward to continuing the story.
It is with regret and sadness that I pass on the news that my father and the last surviving member of 487 Squadron, Hugh Bone, has died age 98 on 9 January 2021 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Hugh joined 487 Sq in late 1944 and was initially stationed at Thorney Island, halfway between Portsmouth and Chichester, under C.O. Wing Commander Porteus, where he was assigned to B flight under Squadron Leader Bill Kemp (DSO and bar, DFC and bar) for whom he developed a great respect. Hugh piloted night intruder bombing operations over industrial, transport and communications targets in occupied Europe in the Mk VI Mosquito with his navigator, Ken Guy. He achieved the rank of Warrant Officer while with 487 Sq and Flying Officer after the war in the RAFVR.
He remained completely lucid and with a good memory right until his death, and contributed significantly to Ch 22-24 of "Through to the End".
Ian Bone, Mt Eden, Auckland
Last Edit: Jan 19, 2021 14:38:35 GMT 12 by ianbone