MILLIONAIRES' SQUADRON: The Remarkable Story of 601 SquadronTOM MOULSON Book Number: 82625 Product format: Hardback
When 601 Squadron of the new Territorial Air Force was gazetted in 1925, it was commanded by Lord Edward Grosvenor whose family, the Dukes of Westminster, gave their name to Grosvenor Square and owned half of London. The squadron came into being when Grosvenor got together with a few flying enthusiasts in White's Club, Piccadilly, and exerted his influence on the Conservative government to create a peace-time flying force. 601 opened at Northolt with five war-era Avro-504s. "Owning one's own aeroplane and knowing how to fly would be a plus, being rich was even more so, but hailing from the right social class was a requirement," as the author, a veteran of the squadron, modestly expresses it. A typical member was Thomas Loel Evelyn Bulkeley Guinness, heir to the family's banking wealth, later the subject of several spectacular divorce cases, and of course the owner of a private plane. This fascinating and hilarious book recounts the exploits of 601 in peacetime and their serious achievements in war, notably the defence of Malta in 1942. 601 Squadron, initially under the command of intrepid Squadron Leader Bisdee, was part of the force that held the island against the marauding of Messerschmitts while the accompanying Spitfires concentrated on incapacitating the Italian bombers. Most aircrew survived, but there was massive loss of life at sea, and the appointment of Keith Park as fighter commander was crucial in turning the battle round. 237pp, photos.
Published price: £25
Bibliophile price: £10.00
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