Battle Order 204 by Christobel Mattingley

By Christobel Mattingley

David's boyhood desires of flying led him to England for months of teaching to be a bomber pilot in global battle II at age 19, yet his ultimate flight was once a nightmare. Seconds after the bombs have been published, David used to be wounded in 5 locations and his fellow pilot puppy used to be hit. Flying steel slashed his correct knee, thigh, and shoulder; the tendons and artery in his correct hand have been severed; and shrapnel ripped via his thick leather-based helmet, fracturing his cranium as his plane went right into a dive. This riveting actual tale takes teens in the course of the occasions of a tender WWII pilot’s heroic trip and his braveness and patience within the face of terrifying conditions.

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It was mid-January. There was no shade or shelter for the young airmen, and the planes, made of wood and plywood, sat out in the sun all day, and were blisteringly hot when on the ground. They were Oxfords, twin-engined monoplanes, more than twice the size of the single-engined biplane Tiger Moths. The landscape, too, was very different. After Tasmania’s spring and early summer verdure, rivers and purple mountains, the expanse of sunburnt brown paddocks shimmering in the heat, windswept and treeless, was a shock and the glare was much harder on the eyes.

Fatigue, punishment for small misdemeanours such as being late on parade, meant extra latrine cleaning or kitchen work. One day, David and his companion were on guard duty when a carload of girls became bogged in the sandy track nearby. In reward for their gallantry in digging out the car, the girls gave them each an enamel mug full of sherry! The boys were lucky to escape punishment. At dinner, everyone was also hungry for the mail which was distributed, eager for news from home. The big moment when ‘the eagle shat’ came once a fortnight at pay parade, and each man received four pounds and four shillings – six shillings per day.

Drill, marching and physical training before lunch provided a welcome break from concentrated study. The recruits moaned about the weekly cross-country run, but gradually everyone grew fitter and tougher, losing puppy fat or flab. indd 26 2/4/07 3:15:57 PM Name, Rank and Number Daily duties included kitchen work, cleaning latrines and guard duties. Fatigue, punishment for small misdemeanours such as being late on parade, meant extra latrine cleaning or kitchen work. One day, David and his companion were on guard duty when a carload of girls became bogged in the sandy track nearby.

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