To War with Bomber Command
George Dunn, Ferris Newton, and Steve Darlow
Fighting High Publishing, Havertown, Pennsylvania, 2021, 144 pages
Book Review published on: September 9, 2022
The Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Bomber Command played a key part in the defeat of Nazi Germany, and Resolute: To War with Bomber Command is a terrific collection of the memories of George Dunn and Ferris Newton, crewmates of a Handley Page Halifax heavy bomber. Author Steve Darlow takes Dunn’s words from interviews and combines them with excerpts from Newton’s earlier writings to produce the book, and as such, all three are credited as authors.
The book begins with Dunn joining the Local Defence Volunteers (which would later become the Home Guard) as a young man as the war broke out in Europe. In that position, he watched the Battle of Britain play out over his head. This spurred him to volunteer to join the RAF, hoping to become a wireless operator or air gunner. Instead, he was selected for pilot training, and the book adequately covers his pilot training in Canada—the airspace over the UK was much too dangerous for pilot training—and his progression to the Halifax bomber.
Meanwhile, Newton had joined the RAF as an aircraft mechanic and was soon selected to become a flight engineer. He joined Dunn and the rest of the crew at their heavy conversion unit, and they were soon posted to their operational unit, No. 76 Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
The middle half of the book focuses on the missions of Dunn’s crew, with large parts of the text directly quoted from either Dunn’s interviews or Newton’s writings. The book demonstrates the differences in their points-of-view based on their jobs. Dunn was the captain of the ship, so his part of the story focuses more on the jobs of his crewmembers, the nuts and bolts of the mission, and their part in the war. As the flight engineer, Newton emphasizes the actual aircraft, its systems and performance. By providing both views about the same operations, it gives the reader an insight on how theirs was truly a team sport.
After completing thirty missions (which was quite rare), the crew was rotated off operational duty. The book follows both Dunn and Newton going their separate ways to become instructors. Dunn would eventually return to an operational unit, this time flying Mosquitos through the end of the war.
Resolute is well-written and an easy read. Its authors put the reader in the cockpit of an RAF heavy bomber flying missions over the Ruhr valley, or the secret weapons base at Peenemunde, or over the European Alps at night. It contains sixteen pages of photographs (all black and white) and Dunn’s operational logbook entries. Since much of the book is written in the words of the British aircrew, there is a fair amount of British slang that may puzzle some readers, but this certainly adds to the richness of the stories. Also, since there are some large parts of the book written as quotations (sometimes over a page long,) it can become confusing as to who is narrating at some points. That said, Darlow, Dunn, and Newton’s Resolute is an interesting book that I recommend to anyone interested in the lives of World War II bomber crews or the role they played in Europe.
Book Review written by: Lt. Col. Joesph S. Curtis, U.S. Army, Retired, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas