Geoffrey Guy's War
Memoirs of a Spitfire Pilot 1941-46
- Geoffrey Guy
15th September 2011
Geoffrey's memoir opens in May 1940, when he was eighteen years old and his grammar school in Kent was being evacuated to Staffordshire, away from the danger of German invasion. The station platform was crowded with hordes of exhausted soldiers rescued from Dunkirk, and the skies alive with the aircraft which would soon be fighting the Battle of Britain. In the autumn Geoffrey went up to Brasenose College, Oxford, to read History, pursue his passion for cricket, join the University Air Squadron and begin the one and only romance of his life. One year later he volunteered for full-time service with the RAF. He writes about wartime Oxford; pilot training in Canada, England and Palestine; and operational fl ying in the Middle and Far East. He took part in the highly dangerous work of photographic reconnaissance over Burma, flying unarmed Spitfires and Hurricanes low over heavily defended targets in enemy-occupied territory. His descriptions of student life, learning to fly, foreign travel, and camaraderie with fellow pilots are fi lled with excitement, hope and humour. The mood becomes more serious in later chapters as he relates the death of successive friends, his certain conviction of his own death during the Battle of Imphal, and the miracle of his survival. The story has a happy ending; after the war, despite being 'shrunken and yellow' on return from his harrowing ordeals, he married his teenage sweetheart and completed his degree.