Night Fighter Navigator
Beaufighters & Mosquitos in WW2
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Aviation Book Reviews: Night Fighter Navigator

Yorkshireman Dennis Gosling joined the RAF on 24 May 1940. Having completed his training he was posted to 219 Squadron flying the night-fighter version of the Bristol Beaufighter from Tangmere in 1941. As a navigator, he became part of a two-man team that would endure throughout his first operational tour. In those infant days of radar interception he honed his skills in the night skies above southern England and the English Channel but without a firm kill.
On 12 February 1942, he and his pilot were instructed to pick up a brand new aircraft and deliver it to North Africa, flying via Gibraltar, a hazardous flight at extreme range. In March the crew were posted to 1435 Flight of 89 Squadron with the task of defending the besieged island of Malta. The four Beaufighters of the flight flew into an horrific scenario of almost constant bombing raids by the Luftwaffe and Italian Air Force. Because of these raids the damage to aircraft on the ground was devastating and the Flight was often reduced to a single serviceable aircraft. His first success came in April 1942 with a confirmed kill, and then shortly after his 21st birthday on 13 May a triumphant night on the 17th brought 3 certain kills and one damaged enemy aircraft. From being the virgins of the squadron they shot into the record books, his pilot being awarded the DFC. To his disgust, Flight Sergeant Gosling received no award. At this stage he became somewhat embittered by the class system he felt was operated by the RAF. Having endured the torment of constant bombardment, serious stomach complaints (even flying with a bucket in the aircraft) and near starvation he completed his tour and was repatriated to Great Britain via Brazil and Canada on the Queen Mary.

After a spell instructing new night navigators, he joined 604 Squadron and in December 1943 he was promoted to Warrant Officer. February 1944 saw the squadron reequipped with the Mosquito and assignment to 2nd Tactical Air Force in preparation for D-Day. Once again he was flying over southern England and the Channel. The squadron became mobile after the landings and were based on various captured airfields in France, but the
conditions were so inadequate for operations that the squadron returned to English bases, from where they operated over and beyond the advancing Allied troops. Eventually, after having been awarded a much deserved DFC, he accepted the King's Commission.

This autobiography is written as stated by the author "I want my readers to relive my experiences as they happened to me - to take their hands and have them walk beside me. I want them to feel the joy and the pain, share the laughs and the heartache, take pleasure in the triumphs, agonise with me when things went wrong and understand why my Service years influenced so much of my life."
He has succeeded magnificently.

Many thanks to Pen & Sword Aviation Books for the review copy, buy it here;
A very well written and detailed true life account of night flying and fighting in the skies of Europe during WW2. The description of life in war-torn Malta is particularly interesting and brings to life the incredible hardship of everyone who lived here during the war.
Night Fighter Navigator - Beaufighters and Mosquitos in WW2 - Pen & Sword books -
Night Fighter Navigator - Beaufighters and Mosquitos in WW2 - Pen & Sword books -
Night Fighter Navigator - Beaufighters and Mosquitos in World War 2
Dennis Gosling DFC
Hardback, 240 x 165mm, 216 pages including black and white photographs
Publ. date:
April 2010
Night Fighter Navigator - Beaufighters and Mosquitos in WW2 - Pen & Sword books -
Night Fighter Navigator - Beaufighters and Mosquitos in WW2 - Pen & Sword books -
Aviation Book Reviews at © robert truman May 2010
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