A beautifully written, thoroughly researched account of the elite branch of Bomber Command that transformed Britain’s aerial warfare during World War Two.
From the opening pages describing the BBC outside broadcast recording of a nightingale singing in cellist Beatrice Harrison’s garden in Surrey as bombers pass overhead en route to Germany, Iredale makes it clear that he has done the work and is truly engaged with and passionate about his subject.
From every small detail that he includes - the bombers mentioned above were heading for Mannheim and the BBC broadcast was cancelled for fear that it would warn the Nazis of their arrival – it is clear that Iredales’s aim is to honour and record the bravery of the Pathfinders as much as to give a clear account of their formation, training, equipment and role in making Bomber Command an effective force in restricting Nazi Germany’s industrial war output.
Any book on the subject of wartime bombing runs the risk of glorifying destruction and disrespecting the dead. Iredale avoids this by taking great pains to treat the subject with compassion and objectivity. He features accounts of those who were on the ground on both sides as bombs landed, treating the stories of both with empathy and without judgment, while not shying away from hard truths.
The stories of those who formed the units, and those who supported them, together with excellent attention to detail regarding military, technical and aviation facts and history, are drawn together through Iredale’s gift for compelling narrative which weaves tales of love and fear, bravery and failure through every chapter.
With great intelligence, dignity and grace, The Pathfinders, gives voices to the voiceless. It is a worthy and admirable testament to the 20,000 from across the Commonwealth who signed up to carry out duties that many of us today would consider utterly unimaginable.
The LoveReading LitFest invited Will Iredale to the festival to talk about The Pathfinders.
You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Will in conversation with Paul Blezard and find out why everyone should read this book.
Check out a preview of the event here.
The incredible story of the crack team of men and women who transformed RAF Bomber Command and helped the Allies deliver decisive victory over Nazi Germany.
The Pathfinders were ordinary men and women from a range of nations who revolutionised the efficiency of the Allies' air campaign over mainland Europe. They elevated Bomber Command - initially the only part of the Allied war effort capable of attacking the heart of Nazi Germany - from an impotent force on the cusp of disintegration in 1942 to one capable of razing whole German cities to the ground in a single night, striking with devastating accuracy, inspiring fear and loathing in Hitler's senior command.
With exclusive interviews with remaining survivors, personal diaries, previously classified records and never-before seen photographs, The Pathfinders brings to life the characters of the airmen and women - many barely out of their teens - who took to the skies in legendary British aircraft such as the Lancaster and the Mosquito, facing almost unimaginable levels of violence from enemy fighter planes to strike at the heart of the Nazi war machine.
|Publication date:||15th July 2021|
|Publisher:||W H Allen an imprint of Ebury Publishing|
Another excellent book by Will Iredale, delving into the story of Bomber Command's Pathfinder Squadrons with drama and pace. The human stories, and the incredible advancements in aerial warfare, leap from the page from start to finish - John Nichol, author of TORNADO - In the Eye of the Storm
Fascinating and utterly gripping ... Will Iredale's painstaking research is impeccable, as is his storytelling. This stunning book is scored with unforgettable characters, reminding us this is a human story of resourcefulness, ingenuity, and above all, extraordinary courage -- James Holland
Painstakingly researched and brilliantly told: Will Iredale has really captured the essence of the RAF's elite pathfinder force - Keith Lowe, bestselling author of SAVAGE CONTINENT
A highly-readable account of raw courage and technical innovation, brought to life by a master historian - Paul Beaver, historian and heritage pilot