A Spitfire Named Connie (Letters from a North Africa Ace)

ARRSE Rating
3.00 star(s)
A Spitfire Named Connie
(Letters from a North Africa Ace)

Author: Air Marshall "Black" Robertson
Pen & Sword

The author has previously written "Fighters in the Blood" which I reviewed on here some months ago.

This book covers the career of Black Robertson's father Ron using a mixture of text descriptions and the large number of letters written by Ron Robertson to his girlfriend / fiancee / wife the Connie mentioned in the title. The book covers Ron Robertson's flying career from his attempts to join the RAF in October 1939 to the point where his career is ended after losing an eye to shrapnel and crash landing his Spitfire after a dogfight with a Bf 109 in December 1942.

According to the author, writing this book was prompted because he felt that Ron's career was not adequately covered in the previous book and the discovery of a box full of his father's letters.

The book starts with the incident in December 1942 when Ron was shot down in North Africa. It then skips back to October 1939. It then progresses in chronological order with the text of the letters from Ron plus a few fragments of the return letters from Connie to Ron interspersed with sections of narrative explanations.

Ron was evidently a "bit of a lad" and the letters do describe his social life as well as service life. There was a number of women in Ron's life and Connie must have been a bit special to have put up with this as Ron describes meetings with several other women in his letters. he was also assessed as an "above average" pilot which means a really good pilot in the RAF parlance of the day.

Although the narrative is chronological it does skip backwards and forwards at times and in a couple places I found myself confused as to exactly where I was in the story. This doesn't particularly detract but you need to pay attention.

Whilst the letters are interesting, there is a lot of them and they end up being a bit samey after half way through the book, hence I tended to read this a few chapters at a time rather than my usual 50-60 pages at a time.

Overall, this is quite an interesting book with lots of insight into the life of a Spitfire pilot in WW2. I did. however, find it somewhat heavy going and skim read some of the letters, with the narrative being somewhat more interesting.

In conclusion, 3.5 stars.

Amazon product


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