Book Review

Against Adversity: The Inspirational Story of Archie McInnes

Battle of Britain Hurricane Pilot by Jonny Cracknell

The latest memoir from one of The Few – Pilot Officer Archie McInnes – has been written by aviation enthusiast Jonny Cracknell as the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain beckons next year. Sadly, Archie passed away recently, just hours after celebrating his 100th birthday, making this book particularly poignant.

McInnes had a brief spell in 1940 with 601 (County of London) Squadron before being posted to 238 Squadron at Chilbolton, Hampshire, on October 8. Many sorties carried out by the Glaswegian-born pilot involved dangerous night flying. “I just had to get on with it,” he admits. An attitude of stoicism he undoubtedly inherited from his heroic father who served four long years with the Machine Gun Corps during World War One.

Archie saw many of his comrades shot down as the action intensified during October 1940 and rightly salutes pilots, of 238 who did not survive, in recollections so sensitively compiled by the author.

Plt Off McInnes served aboard HMS Victorious during the hunt for the Bismarck and his war of 1941 in North Africa makes compelling reading. Shot down by a Messerschmitt Bf 109, he crash-landed, blacked out and awoke to discover his left arm had been so badly wounded it required amputating. He’d broken his neck which along with other injuries would change his life forever. Archie’s recall of the dogfight that brought his Hurricane down is brilliantly sharp and we feel as if we are experiencing the horror with him.

This book is a compelling read and a worthy tribute to a noble Hurricane pilot, and a very brave man.

Publisher: Red Kite

Hardback: 145 pages   RRP: £20

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