Greetings from Slightly Foxed. This week we’re taking to the skies with Battle of Britain pilot Richard Hillary. He was a charming, good-looking and rather arrogant young man, fresh from public school and Oxford, when he abandoned university to train as a pilot on the outbreak of war.
At the flying training school, meeting men who hadn’t enjoyed the same gilded youth as he had, Richard Hillary’s view of the world – and of himself – began to change. In 1940, during the Battle of Britain, he shot down five German aircraft and was finally shot down in flames himself, sustaining terrible burns to his face and hands. With its raw honesty, lack of self-pity and its gripping and terrifying accounts of aerial combat and the psychological aftermath, The Last Enemy is a wartime classic, the harrowing story of a carefree young man who, like many others, was suddenly and cruelly forced to grow up.
Please read on for a extract from Ursula Buchan’s preface to our edition of The Last Enemy, as well as our selection of recommended related reads.
With best wishes, as always, from the SF office staff
Hattie, Jess, Charlotte & India