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Old 3rd December 2017, 17:12
Matt Poole Matt Poole is offline
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New book -- RAF Liberators over Burma, subtitled Flying with 159 Squadron

I would like to bring to your attention a new Fonthill Media book: RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA, subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON, by Bill Kirkness DFM and myself. The hardcover edition is 224 pages, with 53 black-and-white photographs. Please be mindful that the main title happens to be the subtitle of another Fonthill book, B-24 BRIDGE BUSTERS, by Colin Pateman.

Here is the synopsis from the dust jacket:

British RAF wireless operator/air gunner Bill ‘Enoch’ Kirkness 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, amorous pursuits, 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 supporting historical detail. Although Bill passed away in 1994, Matt vowed to help bring the memoir to a wider audience.

I befriended Bill and visited with him in 1991, three years before his passing. Thrilled that I was interested in her father’s war career, in 2014 his daughter Sue graciously sent me his unpublished memoir, plus his photos and a copy of his flight logbook. Upon first reading the memoir, I knew that with my input, it would make a fabulous book on a grossly under-published topic: the air war over Burma.

The 32 pages of photos are sure to wow anyone with the slightest interest in the subject, because of their quality and uniqueness.

This is not a book about tactics or technology. Instead, it is the heartfelt, and at times heartrending, offering of a thoughtful and dedicated ‘everyman’ – just a bloke from Horsforth, near Leeds. He was fortunate to survive, unlike some of his crewmates and others with whom he trained and flew, and about whom he wrote.

Many bookseller sites offer a Kindle version's ‘Look inside’ option which includes all 53 photographs, but not much text. Likewise, a sampling can be viewed in

Please note that only selected Amazon sites currently sell the hardback version.


Matt Poole
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159 squadron, burma, india, liberator, raf

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