158 Squadron Association

"Strength in Unity"

158 Squadron Literary Legacy

158 Squadron has left a remarkable literary legacy. No fewer than eight squadron personnel put pen to paper and produced published works. Some like the prolific James Campbell drew inspiration form their war time experiences to tell us fictional tales that have a solid ring of truth about them. Others such as Harry Lomas were moved to write of their own and their crew mates war time stories and experiences. Still others such as young Canadian poet Bertram Warr were writers before they were swept up in the drama and death of WW2 and of whom well known Canadian poet Earle Birney  wrote in his preface to Warr's posthumously published book "If Bertram Warr had survived, I think his book is evidence he could have been a leading poet of his generation". High praise indeed.

In addition to books written by squadron members there are a number of books written about the squadron or squadron personnel. Listed on this page are all the books that I know of written by squadron members or about the squadron and its brave men and women. If in reading this list you find it incomplete please let us know with details of the book(s) and author(s) missed out so that they may be added here

 

Books Written By Squadron Personnel

 

James Campbell

 


Maximum Effort  - 1957, Futura, ISBN: 0 8600 76065 4

This is the high-tension, fast moving story of a Bomber Squadron savagely mauled in the great saturation raids on Germany. In an atmosphere charged with the tautness of a bomb-aimer's flak-lit compartment the lives, loves and fears of the men who manned the Halifaxes of Bomber Command are vividly, even brutally, portrayed. This is bomber warfare stripped of its glamour; warfare powerfully, yet authentic ally set against the background of the massive thousand-bomber attacks on Hitler's Third Reich. The fury of those night skies of early 1944 flames anew through the drama of men keyed to breaking point; men whose life-span was measured in days.

 



 


The Bombing Of Nuremberg   - 1973, Allison & Busby, ISBN: 0 85031 108X

Nuremberg: The greatest air battle of all time... On the night of March 30 1944, Bomber Command sent 795 heavy bombers, Lancasters and Halifaxes, to obliterate the historic city of Nuremberg. James Campbell bases his book on the memories of the survivors on both sides. His vivid and dramatic reconstruction of the RAF's 'big chop night' provides and enthralling account of the greatest air battle of all time.

 





 


Bomber Stream Broken - 1976, Cressrelles, ISBN: 0 85956 024 4

Stark in its realism and authenticity, this novel is set against the background of RAF Bomber Command's saturation raids on German cities during World War II.








 


The Man Who Kissed Babies   - 1961, Muller, ISBN 10: B0000CKVHH

James Campbell's swift-moving convincing political drama, written by a man who knows his parliament well and makes its members tick .

 
 






 

Leonard Cottrell          - The Night The Chain Broke - 1990, Private Printing

 

Robert C Kensett        - A Walk In The Valley 2003, General Store Publishing House, ISBN: 1 894263 76 6

 

Harry Lomas


One Wing High - 1995, Airlife Publishing Ltd, ISBN: 1 85310 3209

This is an authentic story, sometimes moving, often light-hearted, on a serious theme - the life and times of a World War II Bomber Command Command crew as told by the navigator








 

Douglas Robinson


Life Is A Great Adventure - 1997, Janus Publishing Co, ISBN: 1 85756 346 8

Life is A Great Adventure is a fascinating account of one young man's wartime service in the RAF. Volunteering in 1941 the author qualified as a pilot. He flew several missions over Germany until being captured after a crash landing. This, his story of those missions and his later experiences experiences in various prison camps is both exciting and entertaining.







 

Kenneth Skidmore      - Follow The Man With The Pitcher - 1996, Countryvise Ltd, ISBN: 0907768 89 X

 

Bertram James Warr


Acknowledgement To Life - 1970, The Ryerson Press, ISBN: 0 7700 0312 6

Covering the gamut of human emotions, at times combining irony and compassion, the poetry of Betram Warr derives its strength from his sense of the poet's vocation. There is a timeless quality in Warr's poetry. Bert Warr should be remembered not only because he died in the war but also for the language, imagery, emotion and music he gave us in the midst of it.







 

John Watson


Johnny Kinsman - 1955, Cassel & Company Ltd, ISBN 10: 0595010490 ISBN 13: 978-0595010493

A novel which describes with great insight the courage of the bomber crews, their fears, their fugitive loves'.









 


The Man Who Loved War - 1988, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, ISBN-10: 0586070702, ISBN-13: 978-0586070703

SQUADRON of Traitors? Or Heroes? When South African Royal Air Force fighter pilot Christian "Flash" Jordan was shot down over the French coast, he fell on his feet. Major Rudolf von Mansdorff, Commandant of the POW camp at Leinefeld, was a man after his own heart he didn't want to sit out the war on the sidelines. Von Mansdorff's idea was for the South African ace to lead a multinational crack squadron of captured Allied pilots against the Russians under Luftwaffe colours."Flash" Jordan, an adventure-loving mercenary at heart, readily agreed, and Von Mansdorff set about clearing the idea with the Nazi high command. Goering and the Commandant's high-ranking brother were frankly doubtful but Hitler himself saw the potential of a brilliant propaganda coup and gave the go-ahead





 

Books About the Squadron

 

Sue Bamster - "Gilbert's Tin Treasury:The Story of Ross Gilbert" - 2009 Doohitchey Press, Melksham, ISBN: N/A

 
 

W.R. Chorley and R.N. Benwell

In Brave Company - 1990 P.A. Chorley, ISBN: 0 9507467 1 1

Very scarce history of 158 Squadron Royal Air Force. 158 operated Wellingtons in 1942 and went on to convert to the 4 engined Halifax heavy bomber which it utilised until the end of World War Two. The squadron was disbanded in 1946 after a short period in the transport role flying the Short Sterling.








 

Mark Cote

That Lucky Old Son   - 2018 Friesen Press, ISBN: 978-1-5255-2037-2, ebook: 978-1-5255-2038-9

A moving work of autobiographical fiction, That Lucky Old Son takes the reader on a journey of adventure, danger and self-discovery as the author weaves his own memories with his father's experiences in Bomber Command with 158 Squadron RAF during the Second World War.








 

Ken Marshall

The Pendulum & The Scythe: Chapter 10 - 1996, Air Research Publications ISBN: 1-871187-32

Chapter Ten of this book follows the RAF careers of pilot Bill Strachan and his crew, navigator Cyril Keeton, wireless op Ted Richards, bomb aimer Johnny Wakefield, gunners Alan Parrish and Archie Tait and flight engineer Bob Stow from the moment they formed up through their training together, through their posting to 158 Squadron and to the finish of their tour of duty with squadron in 1945








 

Mel Rolfe - "Flying Into Hell: Ch 9" - 2001 Grub Street, ISBN: 1 902304 77 2

 

Graham Scholes aided by David Mycock - "On A Wing And A Prayer" - 1995 Private Printing, ISBN: N/A