978-1-86227-227-9 / 9781862272279

WITH NAVAL WINGS: The Autobiography of a Fleet Air Arm Pilot in World War II


Publisher:Spellmount Publishers



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About the book:

A Fleet Air Arm pilot tells his dramatic story of flying the Bomba and Taranto raids, in the Red Sea, the South Atlantic and East Indies with its detailed and experienced grasp of FAA exploits around the globe and riveting descriptions of action and danger.? ?In 1938 the Fleet Air Arm became an integral part of the Royal Navy and Wellham, having been commissioned in the RAF in 1936, transferred to the Fleet Air Arm in 1939. When Mussolini threw in his lot with Hitler, the author flew one of three 'Stringbags' (Fairey Swordfish) from HMS Eagle which raided the Italian base in Bomba, sinking four ships with three torpedoes, demonstrating the crucial role of air power in modern naval warfare. Wellham was chosen to take part in the second strike on Taranto from HMS Illustrious. Braving a barrage of AA fire, he flew his badly damaged Swordfish into the harbour, fired his torpedo at the battleship Vittoria Veneto and escaped alive. The victory at Taranto humbled forever the great capital ships of the world. Appointed 'Wings' or Commander (Flying) in the escort carriers Biter and then Empress, Wellham braved storms and U-boats in the Atlantic before being sent to the 'Forgotten Fleet' in the Far East for the final struggles with Japan.

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