Gun Button to Fire

By: Tom Neil

Catalogue Number: H4S-6RF7

Gun Button to Fire

  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing
  • ISBN: 9781445605104
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The amazing story of one of the 'Few', fighter ace Tom Neil who shot down 13 enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain. This is a fighter pilot's story of eight memorable months from May to December 1940. When the Germans were blitzing their way across France, Pilot Officer Tom Neil had just received his first posting - to 249 Squadron. Nineteen years old, fresh from training at Montrose on Hawker Audax biplanes he was soon to be pitch forked into the maelstrom of air fighting on which the survival of Britain was to depend. By the end of the year he had shot down 13 enemy aircraft, seen many of his friends killed, injured or burned, and was himself a wary and accomplished fighter pilot.

Author's Biography

Tom Neil joined 249 Squadron flying Hurricanes just before the start of the Battle of Britain. His first victory was an Me109, followed in quick succession by 12 others. Tom was awarded a Bar to his DFC in November 1940. Later he served in Malta where he gained another victory. His other books include FIGHTER IN MY SIGHTS, FROM THE COCKPIT: SPITFIRE, QUESTIONS OF GUILT: THE STORIES OF WING COMMANDER TOM NEIL AND ONWARD TO MALTA: MEMOIRS OF A HURRICANE PILOT IN MALTA 1941 (which has sold over 10,000 copies). He is one of only a handful of veterans still alive today. The average age of surviving veterans is 92. He was one of the pilots the War Ministry used in their propaganda at the time of the Battle of Britain partly because of his height (6 ft 4 ) and his good looks. He flew 141 combat missions (few pilots reached 50) mostly from North Weald airfield in Essex. He flew with James Nicolson at the time he won the only Battle of Britain Victoria Cross. Only 20 veterans out of 2947 official Battle of Britain pilots were fit enough to attend Battle of Britain Fighter Association 70th anniversary events in 2010 (although around 90 are still alive in total). He is 91 and lives in Suffolk with his wife who was a Fighter Command plotter when they met in 1940.

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