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No Need to Die

An advertising man from Connecticut became the first American airman of World War Two to be shot down and the first to be taken prisoner.

A Coney Island lifeguard flew a full tour of thirty ops as a Lancaster pilot, joined 617 Squadron, went on the dambusters raid and finished as Squadron Leader, DSO, DFC and Bar.

In between were a score of American volunteers who mostly came in before Pearl Harbor through the Royal Canadian Air Force. This is their story: fifteen airmen killed in action and six who survived.

A Milwaukee boy had to ditch in the Channel. Two of his crew died; he lived to be killed himself a few weeks later. The son of an old Boston family was killed with all his crew over Berlin on the last of his tour as a bomber captain.

One man from New Jersey trained as a gunner and was killed on his first op, another from California on his eighth.

They all knew they didn’t have to do it. There was no need for them to die.


"Few people realize that prior to the United States' entry into World War II, a handful of Americans traveled to England to volunteer for service in the RAF Bomber Command. This volume recreates the stories and flying careers of 21 Americans who fought in the air war over Europe with the RAF's two premier Bomber Command squadrons...For the first time, Godron Thorburn tells the story of these men who left homes in Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Colorado and many other states to seek adventure and fight Nazi Germany... Anyone interested in military aviation history or World War II will find this book a fascinating tale of some true unsung heroes whose exploits have been largely forgotten."

The Aptos Times

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