GOSHAWK SQUADRON by Derek Robinson


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You Will load your aeroplanes with T.N.T., fly in line astern to Corps H.Q., and crash onto the roof of the Corps commander's chateau, in alphabetical order. . . . When you have done that, you will fly to Berlin, where you will stand to attention in your cockpits and piss on the Kaiser, thus ending the war."" That's Woolley, 23 (looking twice that age), and squadron leader of the R.F.C. unit here addressing his men with more humor than usually surfaces from behind his gunmetal grim facade. In fact it's hard to think that he's not altogether heartless -- refusing to look at the body of one of his constant replacements or shrugging off the little girl they bomb in a field in France. Or strafing his men in filthy language which has only one operative word -- kill. Or turning away from the man begging for parachutes scratching his armpit. Or resisting his superior officers to protect his men. He'll get to you after a while just as the war gets to him -- ""We're all bloody cannibals here, we eat bloody death for bloody breakfast."" Robinson's day-by-hopeless day documentary is an authoritative and compassionately commanding reminder of that other dirty little war.

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 1971
ISBN: 0786715952
Publisher: Viking