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A PILOT'S LIFE IN WAR & PEACE

Hurricane Combat: The Nine Lives of a Fighter Pilot - Kenneth William Mackenzie, Denis Smallwood

Simply put, this is Wing Commander Kenneth William (K.W.) Mackenzie's story of a long, colorful and varied career in aviation in war and peace. 

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Mackenzie trained as an engineer and learned to fly while still in his teens. Subsequently, he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) in the late 1930s, received rigorous training in the Royal Air Force itself and was posted to 501 Squadron in the later stages of the Battle of Britain in September 1940, flying the Hawker Hurricane, which he came to love "for its ruggedness, stability and relatively light controls with viceless flying characteristics. It could take anything that you could give it and out turn anything flying at the time; well flown, a match for anything." 

Mackenzie writes vividly of his combat experiences with both 501 Squadron and 247 Squadron, where he flew Hurricanes on night fighter operations both over Britain and  Occupied France. He proved to be a daring and resourceful pilot, made ace, and was shot down by flak whilst attacking a small airbase in France on the night of September 29th, 1941. He ended up a prisoner of war for 3 years before being repatriated to Britain. 

Aviation was Mackenzie's life and his book (with photos) amply illustrates how rich a life that was.