Fighter Aces!
The Constable Maxwell brothers,
Fighter Aces in two World Wars
Alex Revell
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Aviation Book Reviews: Fighter Aces! - Alex Revell

When Gerald Constable Maxwell was flying as a fighter pilot in World War I, his brother Michael was born. Both went on to have distinguished flying careers in World War II. This is the story of both men and how their paths crossed during the second conflict.

Gerald served with distinction with 56 Squadron, one of the crack fighter units of WWI in France. Upon his return to England he became Chief Flying Instructor of No. 1 Fighter and Gunnery School at Turnberry. In World War II he served as Station Commander at RAF Ford, a night fighter station near Arundel, one of the most efficient and happy stations in 11 Group.

Michael followed in his brother’s footsteps and joined 56 Squadron in April 1940 to fly the Hawker Hurricane. During May 56 Squadron moved to France to assist the fast retreating British and French forces as the Germans rapidly advanced. On 27 May, he was shot down whilst attacking ten Heinkel 111s on their way to bomb Dunkirk. Fortunately his first contacts upon landing by parachute were French and he managed to find his way to Ostend where he boarded a trawler and crossed the Channel back to Deal.

56 Squadron had by now returned to their English base at North Weald from where they were flying patrols over the French coast and escorting RAF bombers raiding the German positions. On 8 June, whilst trying to reach returning Blenheims over Le Treport, the Hurricanes were bounced by Bf 109s and again Michael was hit, wounding him in the leg and foot, fortunately he eventually managed a crash landing back at North Weald. During the height of the Battle of Britain Michael was again forced to make a crash landing near Herne Bay which he was lucky to survive as his Hurricane had disintegrated around him.

In the autumn of 1941 Michael was posted to 604 Nightfighter Squadron, led by the legendary ‘Cat’s Eyes’ Cunningham flying Beaufighters and later Mosquitos. He was eventually to command the Squadron whose tally of enemy aircraft shot down when he left had reached 100.

This remarkable story includes first-hand combat accounts from both Michael and Gerald and the author has had access to the Constable Maxwell’s family records.

Many thanks to Pen & Sword Aviation Books for the review copy, buy it here;
The incredible true story of two of the Constable Maxwell brothers, Gerald was a fighter 'Ace' with No. 56 Squadron in WW1 and his younger brother Michael was later a fighter pilot, also with No. 56, in WW2.
The most interesting aspect of this book is being able to compare the very different experiences of RAF pilots in the 'air war' over Europe in both World wars.
It vividly brings to life the amazing technological advances made in military aviation in such a short time.

Aviation Book Reviews: Fighter Aces! - Alex Revell - Pen & Sword books -
Aviation Book Reviews: Fighter Aces! - Alex Revell - Pen & Sword books -
Fighter Aces!
The Constable Maxwell Brothers - Fighter Pilots in Two World Wars
Alex Revell
Hardback, 240 x 165mm, 270 pages including black and white photographs
Publ. date:
July 2010
Aviation Book Reviews: Fighter Aces! - Alex Revell - Pen & Sword books -
Aviation Book Reviews at © robert truman September 2010
- Fighter Aces! The Constable Maxwell Brothers, Fighter Aces in two World Wars - Pen & Sword books -