011721 - 263 AND 137 SQUADRONS: The Whirlwind Years
By Robert Bowater
'Westland Whirlwind' For many the name conjures up yellow air-sea rescue helicopters, not the sleek twin-engine monoplane that was the RAF's first single-seat cannon armed fighter, and which was faster than her famous cousin - the Spitfire. Only 114 were built, sufficient to equip two Squadrons - 263 and 137. Between 6 July 1940 and 31 December 1943, 210 pilots are listed in the Operational Record Books of these two Squadrons, so whilst 'The Few' won the Battle of Britain, the 'Whirlwind Men' were an even more select group. Most are known only to their peers, but several achieved high office, and a few are part of RAF folklore. This book does not glorify war, it is a tribute to those young men who answered their countries' call in those dark days, and to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in that long, bitter struggle for freedom. They came from all corners of the Empire - England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Canada, Australia, West Indies, South Africa, Rhodesia, India as well as the United States, Peru, Eire, France and Sweden. They were Shakespeare's 'Happy Band of Brothers.'