Pitched into the maelstrom of air fighting in the summer of 1940, twenty-four-year-old Gordon Olive barely lived to tell this extraordinary tale of courage and endurance.
As Britain fought alone for its survival, `the Few' of RAF Fighter Command took to the air grievously outnumbered, many reaching breaking point, exhausted physically and mentally by unrelenting, intense combat.
Gordon Olive flew the iconic Spitfire for over 125 missions above London and the south-east in the white heat of the aerial battle for supremacy of the skies. One of the most heavily engaged pilots of the Battle, he claimed ten enemy aircraft destroyed in those frantic months.
This is his story of what it was like to dogfight with Messerschmitts at speeds of 400 mph, experiencing G forces close to blackout, at one moment to be drenched in sweat with exertion, the next to be freezing at 25,000 feet, to smell the cordite of your own fighter's machine guns and feel cannon shells explode against the back of your armoured seat.
Illustrated in colour with forty unique paintings of the aerial battle of summer 1940 by the author.
Gordon Olive, DFC, always a copious note taker, made a detailed record of his RAF career and wrote up his original manuscript after the war. He was also an aviation artist and painted numerous detailed aerial combat scenes that he had experienced during the Battle of Britain - scenes impossible to capture on film. Dennis Newton met Gordon in 1986 and helped edit his memoir. He is an aviation journalist and author of seven books, including A Few of the Few, Clash of Eagles and Severe Weather Flying. Dennis Newton is an aviation journalist and author of six books including 'A Few of the Few', 'Clash of Eagles', 'Australian Air Aces' & 'First Impact'. He edited the Battle of Britain memoir of Gordon Olive, 'Spitfire Ace', also published by Amberley & serialised in the Daily Mail: 'Ever wonder what it was like to fly a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain? No account captures it quite so nerve shredding as this new book'. He lives in New South Wales, Australia.