Lancaster: The Biography

Lancaster: The Biography - Squadron Leader Tony Iveson, Brian Milton, Squadron Leader Tony Iveson My Grandfather was ground crew for the Lancaster bombers in WWII. Lucky really, the air crew survival rates were not good - 15 times more air crew died on bombers than on fighter aircraft. The 'tour of duty' was 30 operations and the average survival was 21 (sounds very Catch 22 at this point, only this is not fiction, and certainly isn't meant to be funny.) Some crew did multiple tours, but only a very few made 100 operations and survived - friends and crew mates vanishing in a ball of flames over enemy territory.

Tony Iveson DFC, was a Lancaster Bomber pilot. He was a member of 617 squadron and writes with first hand knowledge of flying the 'Shining Sword' through occupied Europe while being shot at from the ground and the air. He was 'Lucky'. With additional testimony from other surviving Lancaster crew and the occasional German fighter pilot, it is engaging slice of British history from a time when the the country was on the brink - with only the stiff upper lip and a thousand Lancaster bombers keeping our country free from the terrible German war machine. Towards the end of the book, I found myself choking up at the thought of these glorious aircraft being left to rot or sold for scrap.

AGon on you know you want to hum the Dambusters Theme to yourself.