Hi again all, I'm posting a short excerpt from my book "Down to Earth". As previously discussed, the book details the diverse career of SQNLDR K.B. McGlashan AFC, a WWII RAF fighter pilot who flew in most of the major engagements; Dunkirk, Battle of Britain, Dieppe and D-Day. He was also one of the first generation of night fighter pilots for the RAF when tactics were rudimentary to say the least. If you'd like, I'll post other snippets from time to time. Cheers Owen "...As the battle developed beneath me, two fighters, Messerschmitt Bf109s, slipped by 3,000 feet below emerging ahead and to my right at a great rate of knots. They were obviously seeking out the tails of my leading sections and had positioned themselves in the classic six o’clock position. I flicked my gun switch to ‘live’ and readied to roll my machine over to initiate a diving attack on the diving fighters. A screech came over my ineffectual TR9D radio, filling my helmet with deafening, squawking static. I later learned it was Geoff Howitt warning me of the five 109s diving on us, attacking from our port quarter. Howitt broke hard left and crossed in front of me, yet I was still none the wiser. Amidst this melee, I was concentrating on my attack and had totally neglected to look behind. The first indication I had of anything going wrong was when the armour plate behind my head began ringing like an alarm clock. Before I could draw breath, bright red tracers started bombarding my cockpit, whistling between my legs and ravaging the panels of Perspex and fabric to my left. The incendiary-tipped tracers assist the pilot in seeing where his shots are landing and from my perspective I could see them landing very well. As my instrument panel began disintegrating before my eyes, my thoughts leapt suddenly to the vapour-rich petrol tank that sat just behind the instruments. Momentary horror turned to short relief when I recalled that the tank was self-sealing. The attack had been lightning quick. I slammed the control stick forward and to the right, entering a downward roll and sending the world spinning around. The back of my legs stung as metal splinters spat from the maze of piping fragmenting beneath my feet. Engine coolant, oil and all variety of hot fluids showered me as the scent of smoke began to fill the air. Foolishly I had been flying with my goggles atop my helmet and now the mix of smoke and oils that were bringing down my aeroplane were also serving to partially blind me. My cockpit had become a scene of absolute chaos. Then, as quickly as it had begun, the attack abated. Gathering my thoughts, I pulled the aircraft out of the dive and assessed my situation; not good. Bleeding oil and coolant, I knew my Hurricane was done for and I began readying myself to bail out. With the threat of fire growing, I cut the engine, switched off the fuel and set about sliding back the hood. My vision was getting worse and I fumbled to get the canopy back. Three times I tried and three times it slid closed. In my enthusiasm to get out, I was failing to lock the canopy open and a sense of incarceration came across me. Being trapped in a fiery cockpit was the dread of every fighter pilot and for a moment I began to wonder if this is how my war was to end. A moment after that, the second attack started. The left hand side of my canopy exploded again as the red tracer ravaged what remained of my aircraft’s port side. With the engine shutdown, I was literally powerless. Again I slammed the stick forward, though this time to the left. I combined inertia with gravity, accelerating my wounded machine downwards. I felt a wallop and then a trickling sensation down the back of my leg and thought that I’d copped a hit in the backside. [It turned out to be a direct hit on an Agfa cartridge in my pocket, allowing the film to unfurl in my trousers.] Headlong, vertical and hurtling towards Terra Firma, I had a moment of unexpected clarity and recalled banter at the bar that formed a consensus that 109s were poor at recovering from dives. With the earth looming large in the windscreen and absolutely nothing left to lose, I decided to apply this theory. At the last possible moment I hauled back on the control column with all of my remaining might. As the blood drained from my head, my world faded to ‘black and white’ and then just black........." An excerpt from ’Down to Earth’. A Fighter Pilot’s Experiences of Surviving Dunkirk, The Battle of Britain, Dieppe and D-Day. By Squadron Leader Kenneth Butterworth McGlashan AFC with Owen Zupp. Grub Street Publishing 2007.