The Dam Busters

London: Evans Brothers Limited, 1953. Eighth Printing. Hardcover. 22 cm. 269, [3] pages. Illustrations. Index. Slight darkening and foxing to text, some wear to boards, spine discolored, some wear to board corners. Small edge tear to front flyleaf Foreword by Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Tedder, G.C.B. Early in 1943, 617 Squadron was formed for just one special job, to smash the Moehne and Eder Dams. After the end of World War II, the head of the Air Historical Branch of the British Air Ministry identified the need for a history of 617 Squadron. John Pudney, an editor at News Review suggested that Brickhill be considered. The history of 617 Squadron and in particular its involvement in Operation Chastise and the destruction of dams in the Ruhr valley was published in 1951 as The Dam Busters. Following the success of The Dam Busters, Robert Clark the head of production at Associated British Picture Corporation approached Brickhill about acquiring the screen rights to the book. He requested that Brickhill provide a condensed film treatment. Brickhill decided to concentrate the film treatment on Operation Chastise, and ignore the later raids. The subsequent film was released in 1954 as The Dam Busters. Paul Chester Jerome Brickhill (20 December 1916 – 23 April 1991) was an Australian fighter pilot, prisoner of war, and author who wrote The Great Escape, The Dam Busters, and Reach for the Sky. Brickhill enlisted on 6 January 1941 with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Brickhill undertook advanced training as a fighter pilot in Canada and the United Kingdom before being assigned to No. 92 Squadron RAF. On 17 March 1943, he was shot down over Tunisia and became a prisoner of war. He was flown to Italy on 23 March, then sent by train to Germany. After initially being held at the Dulag Luft at Oberursel, a central receiving and interrogation station for captured enemy airmen for the Luftwaffe, he was sent to Stalag Luft III, arriving there on 4 April 1943. Brickhill became involved with organizing the camp's escape, initially as a lookout or "stooge", before volunteering to work as a digger on the "Tom" tunnel". He developed claustrophobia, and as a result was eventually reassigned and put in charge of security for the forgers. Because of his claustrophobia and the risk that he would panic and block the escape of others behind him, he was not allowed to take part in the mass escape attempt, which is known as "The Great Escape". Following the announcement of the murder of the escapees who had been recaptured following the Great Escape, Brickhill became determined to document the event. Discussing the subject with fellow prisoner Conrad Norton, they identified that many of their fellow prisoners had other tales of daring escapes, and that they could provide the possibility of publishing a book following the end of the war. As Brickhill had been involved in "The Great Escape", he concentrated on that story, while Norton collected individual tales. As prisoners were forbidden from writing anything other than letters and postcards, they collected every piece of paper they could find and, writing in as small a hand as possible, they collected stories and hid them from the guards. Following the end of the war, while the terms of his enlistment with the RAAF had been that he had to serve for 12 months following the cessation of hostilities, Brickhill was granted six months' leave without pay. During his leave he returned to journalism, working as a London-based correspondent for Associated Newspapers. Meanwhile, outside of working hours he had typed up his and Norton's stories and selected David Higham as their literary agent.[13] With Higham's help the manuscript was accepted by Faber & Faber and published as Escape to Danger in 1946. Brickhill had been approached by John Pudney, who had recently joined London based publisher Evans Brothers as an editor, with a proposal to write a book on the Stalag Luft III mass escape. This was eventually to be published as The Great Escape. Condition: Good / No dust jacket present.

Keywords: RAF, WWII, Germany, Moehne Dam, Saumur Tunnel, Bombing, Military Technology, Tirpitz, Airpower

[Book #55710]

Price: $27.50

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