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The Complete Flying Officer X Stories
Story Collection
Page Count
Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd
Publication Year
Document Types
Flying Officer X Byline
available as ebook
Pilots, War

London: Bloomsbury Publishing. 2018.
Introduction (attached) by Patrick Bishop, bestselling author of Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945.

The complete Flying Officer X stories in an e-book edition containing all 24 stories with the addition of four without the Flying Officer X byline.

The new collection covers Bates's time on both bomber and fighter stations. To reflect this, Bishop approved an amendment to a foreword he had written for an earlier collection of the stories, but it was never published.

Most of the stories were written between November 1941 and July 1942 when Bates was posted to RAF Oakington, a bomber station on the east coast of England, and RAF Tangmere, home to No. 1 Squadron Fighter Command, on the south coast, just outside Chichester.

Three of the stories written at Tangmere are biographical. Romualdas Marcinkus, the only Lithuanian in the RAF, is the subject of the story, ‘Free Choice, Free World’. When Marcinkus was shot down and captured he was taken to Stalag Luft III and was among the first 10 men to make it out of the camp during the 'Great Escape'. ’The Beginning of Things' is the story of the charismatic leader of the squadron, James MacLachlan DFC and bar, who lost his left arm in an encounter with an Me109 over Malta, but was back flying Hurricanes again in just over a fortnight. The story 'There's Something in the Air’ concerns the friendship of MacLachlan and the Czech flying ace, Karel Kuttelwascher DFC and bar. MacLachlan and Kuttelwascher were the squadron’s most successful night intruder pilots. The night intruder missions were exceptionally dangerous and demanding, requiring the Hurricane pilots to make night time raids into France and the Low Countries to attack Luftwaffe bombers on their own airfields.

Contains: It's Never in the Papers; There's No Future in It; The Young Man from Kalgoorlie; It's Just The Way It Is; The Sun Rises Twice; No Trouble At All; A Personal War; K for Kitty; The Greatest People in the World; Macintyre's Magna Charta; The Beginning of Things; Li Tale; The Disinherited; Sorry, No Saccharine; Sergeant Carmichael; O'Callaghan's Girl; Yours is the Earth; Morning Victory; Free Choice: Free World; Here We Go Again; There's Something in the Air; How Sleep the Brave; Croix de Guerre; Fishers; Happy Christmas Nastashya; The Bell; From This Time Forward; The Three Thousand and One Hours of Sergeant Kostek; Glossary of R.A.F. Slang.


The below reviews and articles are available in PDF format.