British RAF wireless operator/air gunner Bill `Enoch' Kirkness of Horsforth, Yorkshire, flew thirty-two B-24 Liberator bomber sorties, twenty-eight of which were against Japanese targets in Burma. He was credited with downing the night fighter that killed a crewmate and severely damaged his Liberator in April 1944; his aircraft's crash-landing abruptly ended his first tour of operations. He was awarded a prestigious Distinguished Flying Medal for his heroism.
Bill's memoir of Wellington ferry flights, Liberator training, and operations with 159 Squadron typifies aspects of the human spirit-including fear and anxiety, focused determination, numbing boredom, brotherly camaraderie, heart-wrenching anguish, and comic relief-which any young man immersed within such a conflict would have likely experienced. Bill wore his heart, not just his sergeant's stripes, on his sleeve. Bill's story is a compelling, dignified account of an average man's war from 1942 to 1944 in the UK, the Mediterranean, Africa, and onward through his first operational tour based in India.
Matt Poole, an expert on 159 Squadron and RAF Liberator activities against the Japanese, seamlessly enhances Bill's narrative with added historical detail. Although Bill passed away in 1994, Matt vowed to help bring the memoir to a wider audience.
As an RAF wireless operator/air gunner, the late Bill `Enoch' Kirkness DFM of Horsforth, West Yorkshire, flew seventy-two operations from India on two tours: the first in a B-24 Liberator bombing role and the second primarily on air-sea rescue assignments aboard Catalinas and Liberators. Post-war, he owned a signwriting business and a hobby shop, Models and Militaria, and he was a ham radio enthusiast. Matt Poole, a retired U.S. government geospatial analyst, has researched RAF Liberator operations in the Far East since 1990. While investigating 159 Squadron's history, he befriended Bill and visited him in Horsforth in 1991.