Stanford Tuck
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Stanford Tuck

Hero of the Battle of Britain: The Life of the Great Fighter Ace

Dimensions:6.1" x 9.2"
Publisher:Grub Street Publishing
Item No. 9781911667919

The first full reappraisal of one of Britain’s great fighter aces, this book examines the truth behind Tuck’s 1956 biography, Fly for Your Life. It looks at the evidence behind the myths, checks out some of the exaggerated stories and reveals the real Stanford Tuck. In January 1942 Bob Tuck was the top-scoring British fighter ace with an official score of 29 enemy aircraft destroyed. With film-star looks he was the glamorous role model for the RAF publicity machine and an eager press and public wanting wartime heroes. He had joined the RAF in 1935 and quickly showed his excellent flying skills. In 1940 his Spitfire squadron was fighting over Dunkirk where he proved himself an expert shot. During the Battle of Britain his legendary prowess grew and he was posted to command a leaderless and demoralized squadron, this time flying Hurricanes. He continued to prove he was an outstanding fighter ace, gaining the rare distinction of three DFCs and then the DSO for his leadership. He was shot down over France in January 1942. Imprisoned in Stalag Luft III. His room-mate was Roger Bushell, the mastermind of the Great Escape and Tuck worked with him on the committee and was to be his partner in the escape. In January 1944 however, around 20 POWs, including Tuck, were purged to a new camp. Still determined to escape, when his camp was moved out on the Long March westwards, Tuck and a Polish officer took a risky chance and made their way east to Russian forces and thence to England. This book reveals a more complex man than the one-dimensional hero of the previous biography. Post war, he became good friends with the Luftwaffe ace, Adolf Galland, and was a key advisor with him on the film, Battle of Britain, and, often with his other friend, Douglas Bader, made many media appearances. His health suffered in later years from the impact of his war service and his imprisonment and he died aged 70 in 1987.