Atholl Sutherland Brown, pilot, author, and geologist. has re-released Silently Into the Midst of Things. This exciting history of the RAF Bristol Beaufighter squadrons, particularly 177, in the Air War in Burma is being published in Canada after running out of print in Britain. Canadians will be interested since they formed a significant percentage of the pilots on these squadrons.
"Life was not easy on 177 Squadron as it suffered forty percent casualties, missing, killed, wounded and prisoners of war who the Japanese treated brutally as war criminals," says Sutherland Brown. "In addition tropical diseases were a constant threat and a reality to the personnel living in the jungles in the crude bamboo and palm huts."
The three squadrons of twin-engined, long range, ground attack fighters were part of the Third Tactical Air Force in Burma but their role was as much strategic as they carried their attacks against trains. motor convoys, ships and airfields as far as central Thailand more than 600 miles behind the front. The book describes the air operations in the context of this little known war, which was the greatest defeat of the Japanese land forces. 177 Squadron, during its two year of operations in Burma, destroyed or damaged 266 locomotives and trains, 673 vehicles, a score of river and ocean-going vessels and nine aircraft on the ground.
The Archivist of the AirCrew Association in Britain said of this book, "Occasionally a book appears that stands out [from the welter of war time histories and biographies] that is a masterpiece destined to become an authority on particular operations. This is such a book. The exploits of this squadron are quite remarkable and far too little is known of their great contribution to the ultimate victory in Burma."
Silently Into the Midst of Things is written from the official Squadron Record Book augmented by personal narratives of air and ground crews and leavened by some humour. Photographs abundantly illustrate it.
Atholl Sutherland Brown was a pilot in Burma with 177 Squadron RAF in 1944-45 and was awarded the DFC in 1945. After the World War he became a geologist, and eventually Chief Geologist of the British Columbia Geological Survey.
To purchase copies, or read excerpts online, please go to www.trafford.com/
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