Brief Sweet Life

ISBN 1-903953-79-0
RAF biography
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by Glen Rose


The wartime exploits of a 50 Squadron Lancaster crew

Glen Rose was inspired to write this story by her father's experiences during World War Two...

Manchester-born Duncan Freeman joined the RAF in 1942 and trained as a Wireless Operator-Air Gunner (WOp/AG), eventually joining 50 Squadron, 5 Group, Bomber Command, based at RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincs as a member of an operational Lancaster aircrew.

Duncan always flew with the same crew and the nerve-wracking experiences they endured together over enemy territory, facing death night after night, depending on each other's skills for their mutual survival, caused them to develop a close of bond of friendship.

Part way through their tour of operations, Duncan became seriously ill with pneumonia and was hospitalised. The very next night, 22 May 1944, his crew took off on an operation with a stand-in WOp/AG. It was a mission from which they would never return. After an abortive raid on Brunswick, called off due to cloud cover, they were caught by a Messerschmitt 110 over the Dutch coast. Its upward-firing schrage musik cannons scored a direct hit and the entire crew of Lancaster LL744 was killed.

Duncan was devastated at the loss of his brothers-in-arms and for a while lost the will to live, guilt-ridden at having survived when they had all perished, but eventually he realised that the best way he could honour his lost friends was to get the most out of life he possibly could - and never forget them.

This is exactly what he did and this book, written with the help of his daughter, places his story - and that of his long lost aircrew colleagues - on permanent record after a gap of more than sixty years.

It is the story of a group of ordinary young men who were called upon to do extraordinary things in the service of their country and serves as a testament not only to their own individual contribution and sacrifice but to that of the thousands of young RAF airmen who also lost their lives during the Second World War.

details: 140 x 205mm | 190 pages text + mono photos
genre: biography | military history | true war and combat stories