New book - RAF Liberators over Burma (a memoir of a 159 Sqn W/op/AG)

Discussion in 'Books and Films' started by Matt Poole, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole New Member

    Shameless book plug! Sorry to anyone who is offended, or who is annoyed with anything longer than a tweet…


    I would like to bring to your attention a new Fonthill Media publication which should appeal to a broad spectrum of RAF book enthusiasts: RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA, subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON, by Bill Kirkness DFM and myself. The hardcover edition is 224 pages, with 53 black-and-white photographs. Please be mindful that the main title happens to be the subtitle of another Fonthill book, B-24 BRIDGE BUSTERS, by Colin Pateman.

    Here is the synopsis from the dust jacket:

    British RAF wireless operator/air gunner Bill ‘Enoch’ Kirkness flew thirty-two B-24 Liberator bomber sorties, twenty-eight of which were against Japanese targets in Burma. He was credited with downing the night fighter that killed a crewmate and severely damaged his Liberator in April 1944. His aircraft’s crash-landing abruptly ended his first tour of operations. He was awarded a prestigious Distinguished Flying Medal for his heroism.

    Bill’s memoir of Wellington ferry flights, Liberator training, and operations with 159 Squadron typifies aspects of the human spirit—including fear and anxiety, focused determination, numbing boredom, brotherly camaraderie, heart-wrenching anguish, amorous pursuits, and comic relief—which any young man immersed within such a conflict would have likely experienced. Bill wore his heart, not just his sergeant’s stripes, on his sleeve. Bill’s story is a compelling, dignified account of an average man’s war from 1942 to 1944 in the UK, the Mediterranean, Africa, and onward through his first operational tour based in India.

    Matt Poole, an expert on 159 Squadron and RAF Liberator activities against the Japanese, seamlessly enhances Bill’s narrative with supporting historical detail. Although Bill passed away in 1994, Matt vowed to help bring the memoir to a wider audience.

    Further background on the book:

    Through my research into the 29 Feb 1944 op when my mother’s first husband, Sgt George Plank, was killed, I befriended Bill and visited with him in 1991, three years before his passing; Bill had flown on that op. Thrilled that I was interested in her father’s war career, Bill’s daughter Sue graciously sent me his unpublished memoir in 2014, plus his photos and a copy of his flight logbook. Upon first reading the memoir, I knew that with my input, it would make a fabulous book on a grossly under-published topic: the air war over Burma. I'm overjoyed to have succeeded in my goal.

    My desire was to seamlessly match – and honour – Bill's style and sensibilities as I edited and added to his raw manuscript using sources at my disposal, including the 159 Squadron Operations Record Book and his logbook; this was of extreme importance to me, because, after all, this was Bill's memoir, not mine! I gathered and digitally repaired photos from Bill’s collection and my own – the majority being previously unpublished. The 32 pages of photos are sure to wow anyone with the slightest interest in the subject, because of their quality and uniqueness.

    This is not a book about tactics or technology. Instead, it is the heartfelt, and at times heartrending, offering of a thoughtful and dedicated ‘everyman’ – just a bloke from Horsforth, near Leeds. He was fortunate to survive, unlike some of his crewmates and others with whom he trained and flew, and about whom he wrote.

    Book availability, Kindle edition:

    The Kindle edition is widely available for purchase through various Amazon outlets (thirteen Amazon sites are noted at the bottom of the page) and also through And other bookseller sites, too. Many Amazon sites offer a ‘Look inside’ option which includes all 53 photographs, but not much text. The specific site – at least from here in the US – also offers a glimpse at photos and text.

    Hardcover book availability:

    The hardcover book is available through and from the publisher’s website,, to name two booksellers in the UK.

    As of 29 November, the hardcopy book is only available on seven of fourteen Amazon sites – and not via the Amazon sites in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, or the US.

    For those outside of the UK, FREE SHIPPING ANYWHERE and an EXCELLENT PRICE are offered through

    Please note that on the above link, a small window will appear which reads, ‘Christmas posting dates, Learn more’. By clicking on this link, you will see the ‘recommended last order dates’ for getting the book in time for Christmas. There’s not much time left, for some countries, and it is probably too late for those residing in Canada or Brazil to get the book delivered before Christmas.

    I firmly believe in the merit of Bill’s memoir.


    Matt Poole
  2. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole New Member

    This is in regard to Bill Kirkness DFM and his memoir, RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA. I recently talked on Skype for nearly three hours with Angus Wallace, webmaster of, where you will find an archive of his many audio interviews with book authors on a broad range of WWII subjects. He offers these at no cost to the public.

    The result of my chat with Angus went on-line this week as a 51-minute interview. We discuss the book, and also my research into RAF 159 Squadron. The full link to my interview is:…/61-raf-liberators-burma-flying-159…/

    For those who donate to keep Angus up and running, via or through paypal, he will offer, in gratitude, a 31-minute bonus interview, culled from additional material recorded with me back on 31 January. The bonus material includes further talk about my friendship with Bill, how I came to visit him in 1991, and how, in 2014, I tracked down his daughter, Sue Olsson, in Australia after I learned of the passing of Bill's widow/Sue's mum, Marie.

    Supporters of will also be similarly rewarded with extra audio material from future author interviews.

    I hope some of you will listen and enjoy.


  3. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole New Member

Share This Page