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They joined an R.A.F. kwn as 'the best flying club in the world', but when war pitches the young pilots of 409 Squadron into battle over Germany, their training, tactics and equipment are soon found wanting, their twin-engined bombers obsolete from the off. Chances of completing a 30-operation tour? One in three. At best. Robinson's crooked salute to the dogged heroes of the R.A.F.'s early bombing campaign is a wickedly humourous portrait of men doing their duty in flying death traps, fully aware, in those dark days of war, there was thing else to do but dig in and hang on.
Derek Robinson, the son of a policeman, read history at Cambridge before working in advertising in London and New York. His novel Goshawk Squadron was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1971.
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