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By Christobel Mattingley

David's boyhood desires of flying led him to England for months of educating to be a bomber pilot in global warfare II at age 19, yet his ultimate flight used to be a nightmare. Seconds after the bombs have been published, David used to be wounded in 5 locations and his fellow pilot puppy used to be hit. Flying steel slashed his correct knee, thigh, and shoulder; the tendons and artery in his correct hand have been severed; and shrapnel ripped via his thick leather-based helmet, fracturing his cranium as his plane went right into a dive. This riveting precise tale takes youth throughout the occasions of a tender WWII pilot’s heroic trip and his braveness and patience within the face of terrifying conditions.

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Not as impressive outside as Melbourne’s Flinders Street, but its interior loftier and more extensive, home to multitudinous pigeons which scurried among the feet of the myriads of hurrying passengers. David had always revelled in English history and literature so he was eager to see for himself the country that inspired England’s great poets. As the electric train sped through Surrey and Sussex meadows, woods and downlands, he delighted as more of William Blake’s green and pleasant land unfolded.

Then, at the beginning of November, David went solo for the first time. It was one of the most momentous days of his life, walking across the dewy grass, knowing that he and he alone was responsible for the safety of the little Tiger Moth which meant so much to him. And for his own life. Heart thumping, he went through the pre-flight safety check with utmost care, climbed aboard and strapped himself in. The mechanic swung the propeller, the engine fired, David signalled ‘Chocks away’, and under his control the Moth moved forward into the wind and took off.

If the enemy planes came closer, a series of pips like radio time signals followed. But on that first occasion the German bombers were heading for London, so the welcome steady wail of the All Clear sounded soon afterwards. indd 54 2/4/07 3:16:12 PM Loving Life Another night the raiders were closer and the men could hear distant gunfire. Then returning from the cinema one night David and Peter watched fighters going up and a German plane taking violent evasive action in the glare of searchlights.

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Battle Order 204 by Christobel Mattingley


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