Many years ago, I read this book, which thoroughly captivated me. Before earning a worldwide reputation as a writer of exciting and wildly imaginative children’s books, Dahl had served as a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Here he relates his experiences of undergoing flight training in Southern Africa. He conveys with touching clarity the stresses, joys, and pain any pilot trainee experiences in coming to grips with flying. As someone who is fascinated with aviation, I almost felt as if I were in the cockpit with Dahl as he advanced through the various levels of training.
Dahl went on to serve with a fighter squadron in Libya, which, in the wake of the German blitzkrieg in the Balkans in April 1941, was later sent to Greece. It proved to be a fruitless undertaking as Dahl’s squadron sustained heavy losses and Dahl himself was greviously wounded. This book is a testament to one man’s love for flying and his efforts to pick up the pieces and resume a full life again.