Sylvia Pickering's first book about her World War II experiences in the Women's Auxilliary Air Force (WAAF) has already proved very popular. It was composed entirely of original letters which Sylvia sent to and received from friends and family during the wartime years.
This second book about Sylvia’s life as a WAAF is similarly composed mostly of correspondence from the wartime years. In it she is posted from R.A.F. Coningsby as a "disturbing influence" and a "subversive element" only to prove her detractors wrong in a most satisfactory way when posted to H.Q. 5 Group (Bomber Command) at Morton Hall.
We meet two Australians – Ken, a mid-upper gunner of 460 RAAF Squadron and Tom, a rear gunner of 463 RAAF Squadron. Their rivalry for Sylvia’s affections are charted in Ken’s playful and hopeful letters.
There is a wonderful tale of an evening out with Tom spent getting drunk just to find our what others "found so enjoyable" about the process.
Tom became a POW in Stalag Luft 7 after being shot down by night fighters and the report on the conditions on their forced march and the map of the route are dreadful reminders of the privations faced by those who fought.
It is wonderful to be able to read the letters from Jimmy, Sylvia’s fiancé; remarkable, eloquent love letters of the sort which feature less and less in modern relationships.
Peace saw Sylvia finally able to indulge her passion for horses, find happiness in her marriage and, at the age of eighty, write her second remarkable book...