Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis

Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis


Over the course of one night in 1942, the crew members of Wellington bomber ‘P for Pathfinder’ each reflect on the paths of their own lives, as they embark on a fateful mission deep into the heart of Nazi Germany.
Cecil Lewis’ novel examines the life of every man in turn, rendering a moving account of each as not merely a nameless crew member, but as an individual with a life lived, ‘a life precious to some, or one… these men with dreams and hopes and plans of things to come’.

My Review:

Over recent years I have become addicted to the Imperial War Museum Wartime Classics over recent years, and I am delighted to be able to review Pathfinders (Imperial War Museum Books) by Cecil Lewis. Originally published in 1944 and is about the crew of a Wellington bomber as they set off on a mission at the very heart of Nazi Germany.

The story of Pathfinders is each member of the crew of the Wellington bomber ‘P’ for Pathfinder they are the first to light up the target for the bomber aircraft that are following behind. But this is not going to be just another ‘sortie’ for the crew. Each member of the Wellington will take their turn at looking back over their lives as they set off on their fateful mission over Germany.

The story begins on a trawler off the coast, and they believe they have caught another mine in their nets but very quickly it turns out to be part of a Wellington bomber that never made it home. This is a poignant story that very rarely gets told. Those of the pathfinder aircraft.

The crew of ‘P’ for Pathfinder come from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and London and each has a life and through the story you get to know each of the brave crew members that never saw home again. It was based on the real life of the author as he was a fighter ace in World War One.

Each member of the crew has a reason for being a member of the Wellington bomber and how they joined up at the start of the war. This is no ordinary story of action adventure but focussed more on the personal stories of those involved. On a bomber each crew member as a set role and they must work together and trust each other and the bond on each aircraft is strong. I really enjoyed reading Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis and I found I could not put the book down as I wanted to learn more and hear of the lives of the crew. If you have read any in the previous Wartime Classics from the Imperial War Museum then you will want to add this to your collection.





264 Pages.

My thanks to Imperial War Museum Books and Random Things Tours for the review copy of Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis

Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis is published by Imperial War Museum and is published on 20th May 2021 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through that supports your local independent bookshop. UK


Green Hands by Barbara Whitton #WartimeClassics

Green Hands by Barbara Whitton


It is 1943, and a month into their service as Land Girls, Bee, Anne and Pauline are dispatched to a remote farm in rural Scotland. Here they are introduced to the realities of ‘lending a hand on the land’, as back-breaking work and inhospitable weather mean they struggle to keep their spirits high. Soon one of the girls falters, and Bee and Pauline receive a new posting to a Northumberland dairy farm. Detailing their friendship, daily struggles and romantic intrigues with a lightness of touch, Barbara Whitton’s autobiographical novel paints a sometimes funny, sometimes bleak picture of time spent in the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War.

My Review:

The very latest release from the Imperial War Museum as part of their Wartime Classics series is set in 1943 and the men are away fighting and so the women recruited as part of the Women’s Land Army (WLA) in Green Hands (IWM) Barbara Whitton (pseudonym for Margaret Hazel Watson) tells the of the experiences of three young women working the land.

The story is told by Bee and her two friends Anne and Pauline are sent to chilly windswept farm in a remote part of Scotland in Winter, with no training they are expected to learn quickly how to work a farm. It is hard-going, cold and tough for the young women who are expected to work 6 days a week and long hours. The novel is based on the authors own experiences in the WLA.

It is physically hard and soon one of the women gives up and goes home leaving both Bee and Pauline to be relocated to a dairy farm in Northumberland and from the story tells of how they coped during the war years.

It is funny and insightful and the author writes in such a way that she paints a picture of life working on a farm doing the job the men would be normally be doing but with not a hint of a thank you. At a time when the country had to pull together or go hungry, Green Hands tells of a time during the war years when it was the women who worked the land to keep the country fed and important part of our history.

#wartimeclassics     @I_W_M

@angelamarymar     @RandomTTours

224 Pages.

Thank you to Imperial War Museum and Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for a copy of Green Hands by Barbara Whitton

Green Hands by Barbara Whitton was published by Imperial War Museum and was published on 10th September 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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