Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire by Alex Henshaw

Alex Henshaw, who died in 2007, was regarded as one of the great pre-war pilots with his record-breaking flight from the UK to Cape Town and back. At the outbreak of war, he wanted to ‘do his bit’ and he volunteered to go into aircraft production. He ended up as Chief Test Pilot at the shadow Spitfire works at Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham (UK) – a job which meant he flew Spitfires (and other aircraft, such as Lancasters) day in, day out for most of the war. He also survived a number of crashes when quality control wasn’t as good as it could have been!

Sigh for a Merlin is his account of his wartime experience, told in a direct and very personal style; those who met him said that it was typical of the man; modest but matter-of-fact. Recommended.

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