BOOK REVIEWS, November 1984, November 1984

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BOOK REVIEWS

“Smoke Trails in the Sky” by Squadron Leader Anthony Bartley, DFC. 208 pp, 91/2 in x 51/4 in (William Kimber, 100 lermyn Street, London SWIY 6EE £10.50).

During and immediately after the war a lot of very descriptive and exciting accounts of their Battle of Britain and other air-war experiences were written by RAF fighter and bomber pilots, just as similar books appeared after WWI. There has been more or less a lull in such tides for some time but here is a very detailed and graphic story, culled from his Log Books and Journals, by Anthony Bartley, who took up flying in Tiger Moths at the West Mailing Flying Club late in 1938 and joined the celebrated 92 (the “millionaires”) Squadron, flying Spitfires. Bartley later commanded 65 fighter Squadron at Debden, and then HI Squadron in North Africa. He survived a broken back in a crash landing but ended the war with his attachment to the 70th Wing of the American 9th Air Force, before returning to England to get married — to Deborah Kerr. So there in plenty of aviation to digest, but it astonishes me that Bartley and his fellow fighter-pilots were able to fly so effectively, as proved by their victories, after the amount of drinking and womanising they habitually enjoyed . . . There are passing references to Jack Dundee, Whitney Straight, Gordon Brettel (Brettell the A7 racing driver?) and Woolf Barnato in this book, which recalls vividly the pilot’s war, after all these years. The picture conveyed of the young Bartley driving his sports MG with suitcase in the back, from Sywell to Scotland for his first posting, to continue training on Airspeed Oxfords, and later to Tangmere and action with Spitfires, sets the scene for his very distinguished RAF career

• . . The MG was changed on the author’s 21st birthday, for a Ford V8 Mercury coupe, later written off by mother pilot, and Bartley knew the Hon Janet Aitken, who ran a Railton Terraplane, and her father, Lord Beaverbrook, who came to his wedding. Perhaps the lady’s choice decided him to run a Hudson Terraplane in 1942. The book contains plenty of the expected pictures of fellow pilots and those who collect this kind of book should not miss Bartley’s. — W.B. Commercial vehicle historians may well like the very large-format (12 in x 8% in) book “Leyland Heritage” by Alan Thomas,

which covers the story, with many good pictures, of those vehicles, like Leyland, Albion, AEC, Bristol, Crossley, Guy, Maudslay, Morris-Commercial, Scammell and many others which the British Leyland take-over submerged. The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust is associated with this Spanish-printed 144 page book, which is published by Newnes Books, 84-88, The Centre, Feltham, Middlesex TWI3 4BH, at £8.95. I liked the picture of the “Sharp’s Super-Krcem Toffee” A7 van and the solid-tyred Royal-Mail Trojan van, among so many others. . . . In Cadogan Publications’ “High Performance” series comes “Porsche 944” by Julian Macnamara, telling first of the history of Porsche, with a few “new” photographs to enliven it, and then in some detail of the Porsche 944. By the author of the book on the Citroen 2cv, this one costs

Public Service history books from The Transport Publishing Company of 128, Pikes Lane, Glossop, Derbyshire, are always welcome, and the latest we have received is No 3 in their “British Bus Systems” series, covering Thames Valley operations, lovingly dealt with by Peter Holmes. The wealth of clear pictures again bring to the reader fascinating road scenes — floods were particularly prevalent in the Thames Valley! — and ‘obviously there are ‘bus photographs in profusion, from 1915 onwards, but also those of Thames Valley garages and offices along the years, maps, etc. The format is of 11 in x 8 in, the book running 10 98 intriguing pages, foes price of £8.50 or £7.00 in card covers. Front time to time publishers come up with what are best described concisely as “coffee-table” books, splendid for a happy browse among the run of automobiliana. The most recent I have seen is “Automania’ by Julian Pettifer and Nigel Turner, based on the ITV series of that title. It is a big offering, 286 111/4 in X 8 in pages, with colour illustrations interspersed with the b & w. In the usual hutch-gulch fashion of such books it covers the social, economic, political, cultural, aesthetic and sexual aspects of the motor-car along the years, say the publishers. They also include a

modicum of mixed racing scenes and have not been able to resist accidents involving the car. One has to admit that such tomes have a certain interest, to shim through, with the serious historians casting a vvatchful eye for any new material. This one is as good as any of these “bits and pieces”, “scissors and paste”, volumes, and it is nicely produced into the bargain. Collins, of 8, Grafton Steel, London W IX 3LA, price it at £12.95.

The Land Rover story is a complicated one to unravel, so what better than to find that the “Collector’s Guide” series in the MRP book list now includes James Taylor’s title “The Land-Rover, 1948-1984”, packed with pictures, data, and text running from the Dutch Spijker I US Jeep origins to help with ownership, maintenance and joining a Club. The price is only £8.95 and the publisher’s address is 32, Devonshire Road, Chiswick, London W4 2HD. — W.B.

From America comes “Hemmings’ Vintage Auto Almanac”, 6th Edition, listing in over 300 11 in x 81/2 in pages One-Make Clubs, Old-Car dealers, specialist magazines, salvage-yards, museums, etc., World-wide. It costs 9.95 dollars post-free in the USA from Hemmings’ Bookshop, Box 76R, Bennington, Vermont 05201.

A real “treat-of-the-year” for commercialvehicle enthusiasts is “The Leyland Bus” by D. Jack, which copiously copes with this subject in 524 111/4 in x 81/4 in pages of text and picture. Published by The Transport Publishing Co. of Glossop, Derbyshire, it sells for £27.50.

The AA has a big book all about Britain’s coast, from almost every aspect. This “AA Illustrated Guide To Britain’s Coast” costs £14.95 and with over 400 full-colour pictures, 150 drawings and 145 maps, comprehensive is the word.

“Road and Trackways of Wales” by Richard Colyer, looks at the more obscure Roman roads, medieval ways, pre-turnpike roads, drove roads, etc of Wales, in text, picture and many maps. As useful to drivers who sometimes walk as to those who explore by car, it is available at £7.95 from Moorland Publishing Co Ltd, 9-11, Station Street, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 IDE. If I am ever reported missing, it will be because I am out and about, in the Celtic back-o-bcyond with this book, which contains some interesting observations resulting from the author’s researches, in the glove-pocket! — W.B.

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