Zero to Hero tells the story of Victor Roe DFM, CGM, one of the longest-serving rear gunners with the Pathfinders, an elite Lancaster bomber group that at great risk marked targets in the heart of Nazi Germany. This fascinating book plots the rise of an ‘institutionalised’ lad from a boys’ home to a well-respected bomber aircrew member amongst peers who were an elite group of top-class airmen.
Roe was a child from an extremely dysfunctional family from poverty stricken beginnings in a Norwich slum. We plot his progress through council care in Norfolk, to a Boys Home in Northamptonshire and a training farm in Kent, through to RAF Pathfinder aircrew. The book also sheds a little light on the social divides that split the UK in the early part of the twentieth century.
But mainly, this is the story of a man who flew 98 missions in eighteen months between late Summer 1943 and his untimely death over Chemnitz in Germany on 5 March 1945, when the entire crew of his Lancaster died. He won the Distinguished Flying Medal in May 1944 for bravery in a battle with an Me.110 over Haine St Pierre. His life as a rear gunner may have been a short one, but it was the humble courage of servicemen like Roe that helped win the war. This is his story—and the story of hundreds like him.
Peter W. Bodle FRAeS started out in life as an engineer, became a designer and then an inventor by inventing the Passive Floor Path marking system for passenger carrying aircraft. The company he started then is now the world’s leader in this technology. Fortunately, its success has allowed him the time to pursue his writing interests and has so far had almost twenty biographies and aviation history published. Bodle was a light aircraft pilot for almost twenty-five years and is married with four children and an ever growing number of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Illustrations: 57 photographs
Also by Peter W. Bodle