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"The Battle of the Flying Bomb."
Page Count
Word Count
Publication Year
Document Types
Organizations, Writings on Behalf of
Original Typescript (tss)
Pilots, War, History

One of two essays commissioned by the Royal Air Force (the other being "The Night Interception Battle 1940-1941.")

A cover statement to the typescript reads: "Story Two, The Battle of the Doodle Bug. H.E. Bates...was commissioned to write the story of Hitler's revenge weapons, the V1 and V2 in 1945. The flying bomb or doodlebug created much excitement in Squadron Leader Bates, particularly as his own house was under the flight path of these hideously noisy robots. The material he gathered both in Southern Britain and later in France was to form a traumatic tale which the R.A.F. wanted to publish, but which the War Department felt contained too many sensitive facts."

Like its companion essay, the work is a thorough history as well as an engaging account for the general public, in which Bates discusses both the V1 and V2 bombs from a technical standpoint, as well as the techniques of interception and defense; the effects on English society, including fires and evacuations of London, and the responses of government and military officials to German tactics and propaganda. Eads (1990) calls the work "The Battle of the Flying Bomb," most probably after the catalogue record (AIR 20/4140) at the National Archives in Kew.

The work was eventually published in a posthumous edition containing numerous photographs, maps, and charts with the title Flying Bombs over England. (edited by Bob Ogley, Brasted Chart: Froglets Publications, 1994). Ogley presents a full explanation of why the book was not published for over fifty years.

To coincide with its eventual publication, excerpts and supporting articles were printed in several newspapers:

  • Daily Mail (May 30, 1994, pp. 28-29, attached)
  • Daily Telegraph (January 17, 1994, p. 4, attached)

An article in The Times (September 17, 2004, p. 14, attached) relates to the display of Bates's typescript in the National Archives.

Other non-fiction treatments of the War by Bates include The Battle of Britain, 1940, Escape, and There's Freedom in the Air and notably three non-fiction essays written under the pseudonym of 'Flying Officer X'


The below reviews and articles are available in PDF format.