Book detailing history of RAF in northern Lincolnshire soars high in the best-sellers
A COMPELLING history of the RAF in northern Lincolnshire during the Second World War is soaring into the bestseller lists.
Former assistant editor of the Grimsby Telegraph, Pat Otter, 68, has completed a book after four years of meticulous research into 1 Group of RAF Bomber Command.
Swift To Attack: 1 Group, Bomber Command's Unsung Heroes, published by Pen and Sword Books, details the history of all those who served at airfields such as RAF bases at Binbrook, Kelstern, Elsham, Ludford, Wickenby and Waltham.
Most of the squadrons' crews flew Lancaster bombers, but the group also operated Wellington bombers.
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Bomber Command 1 Group was created in 1940 after the fall of France, and became the largest element of Bomber Command over the next five years.
The 1 Group lost about 9,000 servicemen, including Mr Otter's father, Bernard. He was just 32.
Mr Otter, of Immingham, who worked at the Grimsby Telegraph for more than 25 years, said: "The book is something I wanted to do for years.
"Fortunately I had the time and diligence to do it. It took a long time to do and began in the late 1980s when I did a series of paperbacks published in conjunction with the Telegraph called Maximum Effort.
"It was at the then editor's behest and I collected hundreds of letters from RAF veterans from all over the world.
"By that time, many of them were in their late 60s and were retired and many wanted to share their experiences.
"I just caught it right, as any earlier they would not talk and any later they would have faded into the past.
"I have tried to tell it through the eyes of the people that were there, rather than an operational history and told from their letters, memories and experiences. There are some extra-ordinary stories from extra-ordinary people."
There were eight groups in Bomber Command and 1 Group was based in northern Lincolnshire.
The book contains about 300 photos and was edited by RAF expert Richard Gardner, with a generous foreword by Air Vice Marshal Stuart Atha.
Costing £20, it is available from Pen and Sword Books at 47, Church Street, Barsley, S70 2AS, as well as from bookshops and online retailers.
Grimsby Telegraph columnist Peter Chapman's review of the book will appear in the Grimsby Telegraph next week.
We have been asked to point out that a caption on a photograph in a tribute to Rowland Smith, of Cleethorpes, should have described a line-up of RAF personnel in front of a Wellington Bomber and not as reported.