A newly discovered “exhilarating and moving memoir” of an RAF fighter pilot in World War II (Daily Mail).
It is not often that a long-hidden gem of a manuscript is published, bringing a moment in WWII history to vivid life for today’s readers. Geoffrey Wellum’s First Light was one example. The memoir of Timothy Vigors is another.
Born in Hatfield but raised in Ireland and educated at Eton and Cranwell, Vigors found himself in France in 1940 flying Fairey Battle bombers. After the Fall he joined the fighters of 222 Squadron, with whom he saw frantic and distinguished service over Dunkirk and persevered through the dangerous days of the Battle of Britain, when he became an ace.
Vigors transferred to the Far East in January 1941 as a flight commander with 243, then to 453 Squadron RAAF, and on December 10 of that year he led a flight of Buffaloes to cover the sinking Prince of Wales and Repulse. Dramatically shot down, burnt and attacked on his parachute, he was evacuated to Java, and from there, to India. As he describes these experiences in his handwritten account, the author provides a fascinating and valuable record, a newly discovered personal narrative of air combat destined to be seen as a classic.