- This previously unpublished diary gives a unique insight into the life of an airman during his first two years of the Second World War
- Many of the unpublished photographs are from the only Czechoslovakian squadron within RAF Bomber Command
- Complete biographies of all thirty-seven Allied observer students trained in the first air observer course run by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada
One of the many wartime airmen who documented his day-to-day experiences in a diary was RCAF navigator John Gellner. Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Gellner was a lawyer practising in the Czechoslovak town of Brno. With the outbreak of war in Europe, he fled to Canada and trained as an air observer on the first course of the fledgling British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Gellner began his operational tour with No. 311 ‘Czechoslovak’ (B) Squadron flying the venerable Vickers Wellington.
It did not take long for Gellner’s abilities to shine, especially as an instructor in astronavigation. For his role in the attack on the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, Gellner received the coveted DFC. After thirty-seven operations over France and Germany, he was selected for pilot training in Canada. During his post-war service with the RCAF, he had a distinguished career as an administrative officer, retiring in 1958. Now a civilian, Gellner turned to writing and became one of Canada’s most knowledgeable and sought after aviation and military affairs journalists.
Pavel Vančata is a highly-respected Czech aviation historian, author and journalist specialising in Czechoslovaks who served in the RAF during the Second World War. He has published five books in Czech, one in English and also co-authored several other books on related subject matter. He has been a regular contributor to the Czech aviation magazine REVI since 2003. Vančata graduated in 2003 as a telecommunication engineer from the Czech Technical University in Prague.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Extent: 256 pages
Illustrations: 69 black-and-white photographs