Greetings from Hoxton Square where we’re hurtling through the spring quarter at pace. When looking at our diaries to plan the week ahead, we were surprised to find that we’ve already landed on 20 April, which, this year, marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Athens.
The Battle of Athens (also known as the Battle of Piraeus Harbour) is the name given by Roald Dahl to a dog-fighting air battle over Athens, fought between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe towards the end of the Battle of Greece. Dahl describes this airborne adventure in his second memoir, Going Solo, which is available in a handsome Slightly Foxed Edition.
Since Dahl was 6ft 6in, training as a fighter pilot in the RAF was excruciating – his knees were near his nose – but he approached it with his usual can-do enthusiasm. He was clearly a brilliant pilot, and his account of what it was like to confront the enemy from the cramped cockpit of a Hurricane, with minimal training in how to fly it, is stomach-churning.
Please read on for an excerpt from Going Solo, in which we find Dahl taking to the skies on 20 April 1941, and follow the links below to buy this as a single title, or together with other recommended reads.
With best wishes, as ever, from the SF office staff
Jennie, Anna, Hattie & Jess