Arise to Conquer The Real Hurricane Pilot Wing Commander I.R. Gleed D.S.O. D.F.C. Introduced by Dilip Sarker M.B.E. FRHistsS

ARRSE Rating
5.00 star(s)
For many young men growing up in the shadows of the Great War, there was a wonderful new life to look forward to, a life that was so unlike that of their father's generation, jazz music ,fast motorcycles, fast cars, sailing and travel.

For Ian Gleed , a young man from a good family, the prospects looked good ,but then the shadowy duo of fascism and National Socialism started to darken the skies of Europe , he was not in any way the sort of person you would categorise as a warrior, unlike the Nazis, He was not indoctrinated with the superior attitude and a stark arrogance towards others , he was just a gentle humble young man, As a 15 year old , a visit to Hatfield Aerodrome inspired him to learn to fly, but upon leaving school he found that his lack of academic achievement precluded him from gaining admission to Cranwell , and a career in flying , however being accepted on a short service commission, and following a little civilian flying , he found himself learning far more about the art of flight at the Civilian Flying School in Filton, following further training he was posted to Kenley, where in 1936, after gaining experience of flying the Gloster Gauntlet, soon found himself learning to master Sydney Camms fighter, the Hurricane a big heavy strong and well built aircraft,

After a 2 year spell at Digby, and then attempting to take down the fast German intruders, he was posted to Sutton Bridge, where for him the war nearly ended, given a new Spitfire to air test, everything was going smoothly, except as he relates a tendency to fly one wing low, concluding the air test, and diving down to the Airfield, he felt a sudden crack as his head was slammed into the dashboard, the aircraft breaking up in mid air, terribly injured, he was found by some locals and eventually taken to an RAF hospital, after period of recovery , he was examined to see if he was fit to fly, and luckily managed to pass the test, and was soon back in the air, however war was moving fast and he found himself flying from France , his description of the chaos, confusion, and disorder in those early days sounds so much like the present war in Ukraine, a fast learning curve for so many young men, if you are familiar with the film, the battle of Britain this could almost be the script

reading this visceral book, you are in the cockpit with him, you realise that as well as conquering fear, the massive amounts of human energy that must be expended to throw the aircraft about the sky and avoid death or injury leaving the pilot sweating and with shaking limbs and returning to base wet through with perspiration

Attending the funeral of close friends and comrades, and having no time to grieve, but having to return to continue the fight in the air, you realise just what enormous pressures these young men came under, awarded the DFC and DSO for his actions, He quickly becoming a leader of men, and yet retained that modest, almost schoolboy attitude to life, this perhaps was his way of dealing with the death and destruction around him

fighting through the Battle of Britain , and then night fighting from a Cotswold's airfield, from where it must have felt so strange to return to the normal life around him, he continued his flying career becoming a Wing Commander and taking the fight overseas , only to lose his life in the air war in Tunisia, where he lies today a mere 26 years old !!

Having written an account of the Battle of Britain, it was publish as Arise to Conquer in 1942, and is one of the few books that really bring these young mens valiant fight for our survival to life

So why the reprint now ?

Well in the origional book, many place names, locations, and even names had to be omitted for reasons of National Security, but here Dilip Sarkar brings to life many of those involved, giving the exact locations of the airfields and the names of those killed

And luckily as a Historian he met with , and interviewed before his death , Squadron Leader Arthur Thorogood, one of Ian Gleeds contemporaries and was able fill in many details, and to copy his photographic album of those heady times , along with images taken by Flying Officer Rafael Watson in his personal album

Dilip has in many ways brought Ian Gleed back to life, filling in personal details, and history that was otherwise not in the public arena, and with the addition of the wonderful images in the last chapter, you can look and gaze in awe, at these young men, upon whose shoulders we placed so much, It is almost an Arthurian tale, the Knights of the round table did not desert us, but came back when we called, that they grasped a modern weapon rather than a sword in no way diminishes their valour

I found this a fascinating book, and had to read it twice, as I enjoyed every detail, my elderly father as a schoolboy hero worshipped these young men, and in no way was that misplaced

To any one who is interested in the second world war, or interested in exactly how those fine aircraft performed in these young hands, this book is a must

I would give it 20 if I could its that good



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