Rainham author republishes story of fighter pilots for RAF 100th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:56 19 September 2018
A historical novel detailing the lives of eight RAF pilots is being republished to mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF.
Richard C. Smith, 62, wrote Hornchurch Eagles in 2002, the third in a trilogy of books about Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter pilots from Hornchurch.
He told the Recorder: “Hornchurch Eagles follows the fighter pilots through their various walks of life.
“There were still four surviving pilots when I brought the book out in 2002, but now they have all passed away.
“For the last few years the book has been out of print and I know some people have been trying to get copies, so I thought it would be a good idea to republish the book as it’s the RAF’s 100th anniversary this year.”
Air chief marshal Sir Harry Broadhurst, squadron leader Peter Brown, the American William Tex Ash, flight lieutenant Eric Lock, squadron leader Dave Glaser, squadron leader Iain Hutchinson, New Zealander William Crawford Compton and wing commander Eric Barwell fought during the Second World War as part of the RAF Hornchurch.
Speaking about the importance of remembering historical events such as the Battle of Britain, Richard said: “It was an important event during the Second World War. The Germans had basically taken over most of Europe.
“[Britain] was the only [country] left after the Dunkirk evacuation. Germany’s next move was to come in and invade Britain.
“All we had was the RAF and the navy. It was left to the fighter pilots, who were outnumbered about three to one.
“If we hadn’t stopped them there wouldn’t have been a landing base for the Americans once they entered the Second World War.
“It was the turning point of the Second World War.”
The Rainham based aviation author became involved with the RAF Historical Association in 1990 after he saw their marquee at the Havering Show.
Hornchurch Eagles will contain new information and photographs which have been added from the previous hardback volume from 2002.
The book will be available from Swan Books in Upminster or readers can order direct from mitorpublications.co.uk.