“The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
Winston Churchill, 1940
Three years in the making, The Immortal Few, is a landmark publication in which the superb aerial photography of acclaimed aviation author and photographer Martin Bowman is combined with a tribute to The Few. The Immortal Few commemorates of the Battle of Britain and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - celebrating the victorious achievements of those who took part in the battle through the imagery of the surviving aircraft that today are flown in tribute to their sacrifice.
The author provides a history of the Flight, details of its famous aircraft and many of their major actions illustrated with over 200 photographs most of which are air-to-air images taken while flying with the aircraft of the Memorial Flight over Britain.
• The Immortal Few Collector's Edition is limited to 133 copies only thus making this a truly unique volume that will be treasured for years to come.
•The Immortal Few Collector's Edition contains a special signature page, protected by a vellum overlay, bearing the signatures of twelve officers who flew during the battle itself. A photograph and brief biography of each appears alongside. The twelve signatures were obtained through the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.
• The Immortal Few Collector's Edition is specially bound with silvered page-edging, silk tailbands and bookmark. The front of the book is embossed with the iconic image of a spitfire, and the volume is contained within an RAF blue cloth slipcase.
• The Immortal Few includes a brief account of the perilous year of 1940, with photographs and memories of that critical period along with the complete text of Churchill’s call to arms speech of 1940. Historian and author Geoff Simpson provides a fascinating commentary on this speech through which the ‘The Few’ became immortalised.
• The Immortal Few Collector's Edition also includes a complete Roll of Honour listing almost 3000 names, nationalities, and the squadrons of all those who participated in the Battle of Britain.
The Immortal Few is a commemoration of the Battle of Britain and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. It covers the perilous weeks in 1940 during which ‘The Few’ thwarted the Luftwaffe in the prelude to their planned invasion of Britain. The book includes photographs and personal reminiscences from that critical period, along with the complete text of Churchill’s epic speech on ‘The Few’ made on 20 August 1940. Wing Commander Ian Smith, current CO of the Memorial Flight contributes an Introduction, while former CO Wing Commander Al Pinner provides a reminiscence of his time on the Flight.
This book principally celebrates, through the incomparable photography of Martin Bowman, the surviving aircraft from the Battle of Britain and later war years now represented by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. As Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon says in his Foreword:
‘The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is not just a collection of iconic aircraft. It is a national statement, and it is a national treasure. A statement because it reminds the world that freedom must be fought for and was those 70 years ago when Great Britain stood alone. And a statement, too, that we do not forget the sacrifice of all those who flew then and throughout World War Two’
Seven decades have passed. Yet our nation’s pride in the heroism of those airmen lives on. Indeed the memorial flame burns brighter still, even as ‘The Few’ grow fewer. In stories, books and films, through Memorials and annual Remembrance Services, their brave exploits are commemorated. In the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight we have a permanent and stirring reminder of the aircraft that carried us through the Battle of Britain and in the perilous years that followed, on to the ultimate victory.
Martin Bowman’s interest in WWII and contemporary
British and US aviation was fired by the proliferation
of US and RAF air bases in his native East
Anglia. This is his 100th book. He has authored books
and articles on military and commercial aviation as
well as photographic books on a variety of subjects
since his first book, Fields of Little America, was
published in 1977. All have been built up from many
years of painstaking and fact-finding research, interviews
and correspondence with contributors in
America, Europe and throughout the world. His
quest has taken him to all parts of the world, to over
25 countries, including the USA, Africa, Australia and
Russia. He has flown into the world’s war zones
of Mogadishu, Somalia and Bosnia and he has
participated in German and USAFE air/land and night
air/drop missions aboard C-160 and C-130 Hercules
aircraft. He has flown in many other military aircraft
including B-17 Flying Fortresses, the Liberator,
Lancaster, Dakota and the Canadian Snowbirds as
well as landing aboard and being catapulted from, the
USS John F Kennedy in the C-2 Greyhound during an
embark in the Mediterranean. In 2004 he became
one of the few Englishmen to fly in a B-52 Stratofortress.
Martin has produced several photographic
books including, for Halsgrove, Airs and Graces, which
features a collection of his evocative air-to-air shots,
Norfolk: Above And Beyond, Echoes of East Anglia,
Memories of the Air War in East Anglia and Ghost Fields
of East Anglia. For many years he has been a frequent
contributor of photographic and written articles to
aviation journals in Britain, the United States and
Australia. In 1999 he was appointed as an official
researcher for DERA. Martin lives in Norwich,
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 068 8, hardback, 260x270mm, 176 pages. Limited to 133 individualy numbered copies containing the signatures of twelve officers who flew in the Battle of Britain with velum overlay. Silvered page-edging, silk tailbands and bookmark. Blue cloth slipcase. Embossed quality imitation leather case. 'Spitfire' endpapers. Available exclusively from Halsgrove Direct. Published August 2010.