A former airman has written a detailed account of the Spitfire aircraft.

Former airman John Nichol served in the Royal Air Force for 15 years, where he flew Tornadoes in both air defence and ground attack roles.

He's now written a book on the much-loved spitfire, where he tells the stories from men and women that have never been told before.

Mr Nichol describes the interactions he had with some world war two veterans: "They regularly would say 'we weren't affected'- they'd talk about a friend dying, going down in flames and they would say that you just got on with it.

"When you dig deeper, you find that 70 years on they're still deeply affected by these experiences."

Joy Lofthouse Family Photo
Pictured: Joy Lofthouse (Family Photo)
Joy Lofthouse Family Photo

Joy Lofthouse was one of the only female pilots to fly the iconic aircraft and like many others had very little training.

He shares Joy's first account of getting inside a Spitfire:

"The first time that Joy got into a Spitfire, she had her notebook on 'how do you fly a Spitfire'. 

"They didn't know much about the world, they didn't know much about what went on around them.

"They were focused on fighting the war. 

"They loved the aircraft, they credited it with them surviving the war.

He added: "It was loved by the people on the ground and it's still loved today."

Former airman John Nichol
Former airman John Nichol

John's military career spanned to the Gulf War, where in 1991 he was shot down on the first low-level, daylight raid of the conflict.

He was captured and tortured and then paraded on television provoking worldwide condemnation and leaving one of the enduring images of that war.

Despite this, he returned to active duty and was involved in policing the exclusion zone as part of the UN force maintaining the fragile peace in Bosnia.

Within his 15 years of service, he served from Nevada Desert to the Middle East and Norway to the Falkland Islands.

From his new book, the stories of the people that worked on the Spitfire and flew them, now live on in the 'Spitfire - A Very British Love Story'. 

spitfire book

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