Spitfire Books

Here are some of the best books about Spitfires and the pilots that flew them during the Second World War. The majority of books are available, many printed in recent years and on Kindle. However, some printed years ago are in this era of small digital print runs and Kindle are not widely available at a normal price now. For example Bob Doe, who was joint third at shooting the highest number of Luftwaffe planes down, had a book published in 1989 but it is only available as a hardback from that time, and costs £145. Another example is Nine Lives by New Zealand pilot Alan Deere. Although available as a paperback, it is not available as a Kindle book. Hopefully this poor situation will be rectified soon, so all books are widely available at standard prices, because if they were they would have very good sales, as do the other WWII fighter pilot books. They are too important to be out of print or not in a digital format.

Spitfire Haynes Aircraft Manual

spitfire haynes manual

Hayne's started out producing manuals about all types of cars, but have since branched out to cover a range of subjects, even hen keeping! So it makes perfect sense that they should produce a manual in their classic format all about one of the most loved and iconic feats of engineering Britain has ever produced; the Supermarine Spitfire. This is the sort of book anyone interested in engineering, WWII, design, cars  and planes will love for their birthday or Christmas, and it is a timeless book that will never be outdated.

Although the vast majority of people reading it do so simply out of pleasure, it is actually a precise guide that can be used to help restore a Spitfire, and Haynes worked alongside the RAF to ensure accuracy.

Hermann Goering who said the Luftwaffe could do with some Spitfires would have no doubt loved to have had a good read of this, if he was still alive today! Available on Amazon HERE

First Light

Geoffrey Wellum was only 18 at the start of the war, and became the youngest Spitfire pilot in 92 Squadron during the Battle of Britain. His book is now one of the great classics of WWII memoirs, with a first hand account of taking part in dog fights with the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1940. Available on Amazon HERE

A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command 

The WWII memoirs of Brian Kingcome, who was acting Commanding Officer for 92 Squadron, stationed at Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain. He took part in 60 operations during the battle and then flew his Spitfire in battles over North Africa, Malta and Yugoslavia. By the end of the war he had been awarded the DFC & bar, and D.S.O. He left the RAF in 1954 and wrote this book shortly before his death in 1994. The book is not just about the Battle of Britain but his whole lifetime of experiences. Available on Amazon HERE

One of the Few - A Triumphant Story of Combat in the Battle of Britain

Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Johnny Kent became the youngest ever licensed pilot in Canada at age 17. He joined the RAF in 1935 and during the Battle of Britain was Flight Commander of 303 Squadron, a Polish squadron based at RAF Northolt. The book covers his whole aviation career, including being a test pilot after the war. Available on Amazon HERE

Ten Fighter Boys

This book was first published in 1942, right in the middle of WWII. It contains the personal accounts from ten young RAF Spitfire fighter pilots from 66 Squadron, that was based at a number of frontline fighter stations during the Battle of Britain. Sadly, in the time between writing for the book and its publication five of the pilots had been killed in battle. This modern version of the book has a foreword by Jimmy Corbin, one of the pilots who lived into old age. Available on Amazon HERE

Spitfire on My Tail: A View from the Other Side

This book is written from a unique perspective. A one that isn't a comfortable one; being chased by a Spitfire that is trying to shoot you out the sky! Ulrich Steinhilper was a Luftwaffe pilot during the Battle of Britain and the book is about the battle seen from the opposing side. Available on Amazon HERE

The Last Enemy

The Last Enemy was written by fighter pilot Richard Hillary and was published during the war, in 1942. During the Battle of Britain he was terribly burned and became one of McIndoe's Guinea Pigs, and pioneering plastic surgery was used to reconstruct his hands and face. He recovered and began to fly again. Sadly he was killed after a crashing during a training exercise. Available on Amazon HERE

Tom Neil fought valiantly in a Hurricane during the Battle of Britain, and wrote about his experiences in a book called 'Gun Button to Fire; A Hurricane Pilot's Dramatic Story of the Battle of Britain.' Available on Amazon HERE. A few years after the Battle of Britain he was still fighting in air battles. This sequel book is about his unique experiences after D-Day flying alongside Americans in an unmarked, stripped down 'Silver' Spitfire. Available on Amazon HERE

This is an exact reproduction of the Air Ministry publication that was produced for pilots of the Spitfire. Available on Amazon HERE

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