Thunder Bird in Bomber Command, Sean Feast

Thunder Bird in Bomber Command, Sean Feast

Thunder Bird in Bomber Command, Sean Feast

Thunder Bird in Bomber Command, Sean Feast

The Wartime Letters and Story of Lionel Anderson, the Man Who Inspired a Legend

Lionel Anderson was the older brother of the famous animator Gerry Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds and a string of other iconic television series. During the Second World War Lionel served in the RAF. This book is built around a series of lively and entertaining letters he send home while he was training as a pilot in the United States, supported by an examination of his service career, which tragically ended during his first combat mission flying a Mosquito.

The book thus falls into two very different halves. The first half covers his time in the United States, and is supported by his letters home. These paint a picture of a rather glamorous time, with some memorial experiences while on leave, including meeting Marlene Dietrich in a restaurant in Long Beach. Lionel also worked as an extra in the wartime movie 'Thunder Birds', probably the source of the name of the later TV series. This is the first account I've read of RAF training in British facilities in the United States - other accounts have covered British trainees in American schools. His letters also cover descriptions over the local areas around his training base, live on base and his flying experiences.

The second part of the book covers Lionel's active service, and covers the periods after the letters ran out. This is thus a rather more conventional history, although he did serve in an unusual squadron. No.515 had two special tasks, operating two special devices. Moonshine was a spoof device that created the appearance of a large number of aircraft on radar, and Mandrel was a jammer for the German Freya radar system. Both were secret, perhaps explaining the lack of letters. The squadron later converted to the Mosquito, and tragically Lionel was killed during his first intruder mission in the new aircraft. This section is more of a traditional history, made more interesting by the unusual tasks carried out by the squadron, and based largely on the surviving squadron records.

Unsurprisingly the first half of the book is the strongest, benefiting greatly from Lionel's letters, but the second part is also of interest, covering an unusual type of operations.

Chapters
1 - Volunteer
2 - Home from Home
3 - Thunder Birds
4 - Wings
5 - The Moonshine Boys
6 - A Strange Existence
7 - Intruders
8 - The Thunder Birds Legacy

Appendix
1 - Dramatis Personae
2 - Operational Record of Lionel Anderson
3 - Course 7
4 - RAF Flying School in Arizona Desert
5 - 515 Squadron Personnel
6 - 515 Squadron Losses - 1943

Author: Sean Feast
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 240
Publisher: Fighting High
Year: 2015



Our Story, Your History - The International Bomber Command Centre

The aim of those who created the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) was clear – to provide a world-class facility to serve as a point for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for Bomber Command. In 2018 that aim was achieved.

‘Our Story, Your History – The International Bomber Command Centre’ details the story behind the IBCC, the people who came up with the initial idea and the extraordinary dedication and creativity that made the project a reality. The IBCC’s Mark Dodds tells the remarkable story of how the concept arose, the various design and construction phases, the remarkable efforts to raise the necessary funds, and the cutting-edge development of the comprehensive losses database and digital archive. Dr Robert Owen provides a military history of Bomber Command from the first operational flight, less than an hour after war was declared against Germany in September 1939, to the end of hostilities five years and eight months later in May 1945. Historian and author Steve Darlow tells the human story of the aircrews who flew and fought in the skies above Germany and the Nazi occupied territories, drawing on numerous first-hand accounts from veterans. Dr Dan Ellin provides an insight in to the experiences of the male and female ground personnel who served with the Command, and author Sean Feast details the tragic stories behind the loss of specific crews, all of whom are remembered on the IBCC’s Wall of Names.

Illustrated throughout with images showing the development of the project and wartime pictures of those whose memory is central to the project, ‘Our Story, Your History’ is a fitting reminder to current and future generations of the commitment and sacrifice associated with the men and women, from 62 different nations, who came together in Bomber Command during the Second World War.


A Thunder Bird in Bomber Command

Hardback - 200pp - 234 x 156mm. Approx 30 black and white photographs.

World Rights - Fighting High Ltd. ISBN - 978-0-9926207-7-6.

Shot down and killed in April 1944, Lionel Anderson, a low flying Mosquito intruder pilot, was part way through his second tour of operations. He had survived his first tour stooging up and down the French coast in an outdated Boulton Paul Defiant to confound the German night fighter defences and allow the Royal Air Force bombers a free run to the target. Lionel’s journey to war had been one of enormous excitement, most of which had been spent training in the sunshine and mountains of Arizona, flying during the day and partying hard at the weekends.

A prolific letter writer, Lionel continually regaled his parents with tales of cowboys and indians, rattlesnakes and spiders, ground loops and near misses. He also talked of his Hollywood connections, his new ‘pals’ Preston Foster and Gene Tierney, and a movie in which he had ‘starred’ as an ‘extra’.

In A Thunder Bird in Bomber Command, acclaimed military aviation historian Sean Feast pieces together Lionel’s story revealing a young man dearly loved by his mother and father. He was similarly worshipped by his younger brother, Gerald, who would go on to become a world renowned television producer, director, and writer. It was Lionel’s connection with a little-known film that was to inspire Gerry Anderson to create a global phenomena - the legend of Thunderbirds.


A Thunder Bird at Bomber Command – out now!

In the 50th anniversary year of the first broadcast of Gerry Anderson’s legendary Thunderbirds, a new book presents the story of his older brother Lionel, a Bomber Command pilot who proved the inspiration for so many of Gerry’s heroic creations.

Shot down and killed in April 1944, Lionel Anderson, a low flying Mosquito intruder pilot, was part way through his second tour of operations. A prolific letter writer, Lionel continually regaled his parents with tales of his exploits and his Hollywood connections, his new ‘pals’ Preston Foster and Gene Tierney, and a movie in which he had ‘starred’ as an ‘extra’. Military aviation historian Sean Feast pieces together Lionel’s story revealing a young man dearly loved by his parents, and his younger brother, Gerald, who would go on to become a world renowned television producer, director, and writer. It was Lionel’s connection with a little-known film that was to inspire Gerry Anderson to create a global phenomena – the legend of Thunderbirds.

The foreword of the book is written by Canadian actor Shane Rimmer who was the voice of the original Scott Tracy. ‘All kinds of speculation and theories were offered as to what fuelled Gerry’s mighty determination. The inspiration was direct and personal – from his elder brother Lionel who had given up his life as a pilot during the Second World War.’

Gerry Anderson’s son, and Lionel’s nephew, Jamie Anderson said, ‘Every one of Dad’s TV shows has a hero character – and that was Lionel every time.’

Author Sean Feast utilised the wealth of correspondence between Lionel and his parents to bring his story to life. ‘Piecing together his letters and matching them to his experiences while training in the US and operating over the Channel was a true journey of discovery, highlighting the very brave work of a largely unknown part of the Second World War bombing campaign. It has been a privilege to be able to bring Lionel’s story to life, and place his achievements in the context of the final victory in Europe.

Shane Rimmer, Jamie Anderson, Sean Feast, and Bomber Command Mosquito veterans Ken Oatley and George Dunn DFC recently met for the publication launch of the book, held at the Bomber Command Memorial in London. The memorial, which was unveiled by the Queen in June 2012, commemorates the sacrifice of men like Lionel – one of 55,573 Bomber Command lives lost during the Second World War.

A Thunder Bird in Bomber Command is on general release and available through online and high street retailers or it can be bought direct via Fighting High Publishing, www.fightinghigh.com. Tel. 01763 802018

Contact Details: For further details, requests for interviews, or access to photographs, please contact Steve Darlow, Fighting High Publishing.

e-mail:[email protected], website: www.fightinghigh.com Tel. +44 (0)1462 734732

Review copies: If you would like a review copy please contact Andrew Christie, Marketing Executive, Casemate UK, Casemate Group, 10 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford OX1 2EW

Full book description

Shot down and killed in April 1944, Lionel Anderson, a low flying Mosquito intruder pilot, was part way through his second tour of operations. He had survived his first tour stooging up and down the French coast in an outdated Boulton Paul Defiant to confound the German night fighter defences and allow the Royal Air Force bombers a free run to the target. Lionel’s journey to war had been one of enormous excitement, most of which had been spent training in the sunshine and mountains of Arizona, flying during the day and partying hard at the weekends.

A prolific letter writer, Lionel continually regaled his parents with tales of cowboys and indians, rattlesnakes and spiders, ground loops and near misses. He also talked of his Hollywood connections, his new ‘pals’ Preston Foster and Gene Tierney, and a movie in which he had ‘starred’ as an ‘extra’.

In A Thunder Bird in Bomber Command, acclaimed military aviation historian Sean Feast pieces together Lionel’s story revealing a young man dearly loved by his mother and father. He was similarly worshipped by his younger brother, Gerald, who would go on to become a world renowned television producer, director, and writer. It was Lionel’s connection with a little-known film that was to inspire Gerry Anderson to create a global phenomena – the legend of Thunderbirds.

Book Details: Hardback – 200pp – 234 x 156mm. Approx 30 black and white photographs. World Rights – Fighting High Ltd. ISBN – 978-0-9926207-7-6. RRP – £19.95


A Thunder Bird in Bomber Command: The Wartime Letters and Story of Lionel Andreson, the Man Who Inspired the Thunderbirds Legend by Sean Feast (Hardcover, 2015)

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Bond, Steve, Darlow, Steve, Feast, Sean, Sandall, Howard, Macdonald, Andrew, Owen, Robert, Russell, Nicole

Published by Fighting High Publishing, 2017

Used - Hardcover
Condition: Very Good

Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Includes dust jacket. Some wear to dust jacket, inside book in very good condition.

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Missing Presumed Murdered: One Raid, Two Trials, Three Lost Airmen by Marc Hall, Sean Feast (Hardcover, 2018)

The lowest-priced brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging (where packaging is applicable). Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag. See details for additional description.

What does this price mean?

This is the price (excluding postage and handling fees) a seller has provided at which the same item, or one that is nearly identical to it, is being offered for sale or has been offered for sale in the recent past. The price may be the seller's own price elsewhere or another seller's price. The "off" amount and percentage simply signifies the calculated difference between the seller-provided price for the item elsewhere and the seller's price on eBay. If you have any questions related to the pricing and/or discount offered in a particular listing, please contact the seller for that listing.


The Lost Graves of PeenemuNde

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In the Summer of 1944 Nazi Germany launched its terrifying Vergeltungswaffen (reprisal weapon) attack against the population of south-east England. Under direct attack the Allies responded. The Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower was quite clear that the V-weapon counter measures were of paramount importance over everything except the urgent requirements of the D-Day and Normandy land battle, 'this priority to obtain until we can be certain that we have definitely gotten the upper hand of this particular business.' He would use all the resources at his disposal including the Royal Air Force's heavy bomber force.

The task for RAF Bomber Command was simple. If the bomber crews could reduce the number of V1s launched, the fighter aircraft and gun defences had a better chance to intercept and shoot down the flying bombs. But these pilotless aircraft were not the only menace, the V2 rocket offensive would soon be launched, and the Allies closely monitored the construction of what they came to learn was the V3'supergun' site.

When the war came to a close Bomber Command could justifiably claim success against the V-Weapons. There was a cost though- a cost in aircrew lives. V-Weapons Bomber Command Failed to Return tells the story of some of those airmen who were prepared to risk their lives countering the German V-Weapon offensive in direct defence of the civilian population. They had responded to what British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described as the attempt to 'blast the viper in his nest'. Their story deserves to be told. 'We Will Remember Them'.
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Bomber Command pilot who inspired Thunderbirds remembered by family and war veterans

Lionel Anderson - the elder brother of Thunderbirds creator Gerry - was killed aged just 22 when his Mosquito came down in Holland on a spring night in 1944.

And a new book details how Gerry modelled the heroes of his many shows on his brother.

At the Bomber Command memorial in London's Green Park Gerry's son Jamie, said: "Dad never really got over the loss of his big brother and was always trying to live up to him and never felt he met expectations.

"Every one of Dad's TV shows has a hero character - and that was Lionel every time.

"From Steve Zodiac in Fireball XL5 to Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds, each is his attempt to pay tribute to his hero elder brother."

The book was released days after ITV's new computer generated version made its TV debut.

Thunderbirds are returning to TV screens

The voice of the original Scott Tracy, Hertfordshire-based Canadian actor Shane Rimmer, 80, said: "Lionel was definitely an inspiration for Thunderbirds.

"Gerry admired his brother very much. He was heartbroken when Lionel was reported missing and was never seen again."

Mr Feast said Lionel's letters home were full of adventure which were lapped up by Gerry who was seven years younger.

Lionel gave him a taste of showbusiness when he filmed a propaganda movie in the US and got to mix with Hollywood stars including Joan Fontaine.

Related articles

Also at the launch were two Bomber Command veterans, pilot George Dunn, DFC, 92, from Saltdean in East Sussex, and navigator Ken Oatley, 93, from Ipswich.

Like Lionel they both served in Mosquitos as Pathfinders - leading the bombers to their targets.

Daily Express readers raised £1 million towards the cost of the Bomber Command memorial and Daily Express owner Richard Desmond donated a further £500,000.


Watch the video: 1945 Night Bombers