By James R. Stevens
Dead Men Flying
Travelling With The Lost In Bomber Command.
The flyers in Bomber Command had the highest casualty rates of any fighting unit among the allies in World War Two. The splendid Bomber Command Memorial at Green Park across from Buckingham Palace was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on June 28, 2012. It sits under an aluminum roof rescued from a WW2 Wellington bomber.
The site is an overdue tribute to 125,000 aircrew who served, and the 55,573 who were lost in operations between 1940 and 1945. The celebratory opening comes sixty-seven years after the end of World War Two. The flyers of Bomber Command are the last to receive their honour after six plus decades of being shunned by political officialdom.
“The Allied bombings of German cities in the latter part of World War Two have their defenders and their critics. Drawing on log books, letters, diaries and official records, James R. Stevens charts the lives, thoughts and actions of five young men and others who participated in Bomber Command. Given the inherent danger of their mission, what emerges is a chronicle of deaths virtually foretold, rendered all the more poignant by the spirit and manner in which these young men met their unsung fates.”
– Dr. Nancy Wood, Ph.D. (author, Vectors of Memory: Legacies of Trauma in Postwar Europe, Bournemouth, UK; and retired Dean, School of Critical Studies, California Institute of the Arts)
“James R. Stevens is a graceful and fearless writer and historian, whose books invariably address the most significant of human themes—injustice, survival, mortality, love and loss. Like his other books, Dead Men Flying, once read, will become a permanent part, not just of a reader’s memory, but his or her sense of what it is to be human in an oftentimes inhuman world. The book is also a passionately inscribed memorial to lost heroes - and all others who die in the fatal, futile chaos that is war.”
– Charles Wilkins (author, Little Ship of Fools, Thunder Bay, Ontario)