BOMBER PATROL by William Stanley


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In this low-key and low-pressure WW I flying adventure, Royal Flying Corps pilot Christopher Robson makes good on his last chance to redeem himself after acquiring a reputation for cowardice. Having crashed nearly every plane he took up, unheroic flyer Robson is assigned in disgrace to the Home Establishment and shameful ferry-flight duty in the last year of the war when real men are getting blasted from the skies. But a clerical mix-up saves him from complete ignominy and sends him off to the front to join a bomber squadron commanded by Captain Callaghan, a former NCO with a mysterious blot on his past. Desperate for experienced pilots, Callaghan keeps Robson but assigns him to the oldest and slowest planes in the squadron and warns him that the slightest slip-up will be reason enough to ship him back to England. As he gathers experience in flight after harrowing flight over the German lines, Robson begins to earn the respect of his fellow pilots and begins to believe in himself. There is a love affair with a twice-widowed chic ambulance-driver whose more recent husband was a Bolshie journalist, and a friendship with a daring Canadian who packs it in rather early. In sum: mostly a series of similar events, primarily primitive nighttime bombing runs, strung out with what is probably more realism but less manly vigor than the usual gent's aerial warfare tale. Nobody's swash gets buckled and there's no chair-gripping central adventure, but the flying is pleasantly frightening.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1986
Publisher: Walker