1941 at 20,000 feet. On his third night-time bombing raid, John Martin’s Lancaster bomber was hit by heavy fire over Berlin and, consumed by fire, began to disintegrate in mid-air. Four of the aircraft’s crew were killed. Martin and two other crew members escaped the flames and, by some miracle, managed to parachute toward apparent safety.
All this, however, was only the beginning of an ordeal that would last the entirety of the war. Captured by the Nazis and interrogated, the 21-year-old trainee wireless operator found himself imprisoned and forced to endure terrible hardship as the war rumbled on across Europe. Sustained by the memories of his beloved fiancé Adelaide, it was not until 1945 the couple would finally reunite. Now both in their mid-nineties, they are still married to this day.
John Martin’s vivid account of that experience forms A Raid Over Berlin, his story of an almost unimaginable time when thousands of airmen flew to their deaths in similar raids across the Second World War.
Over 55,000 aircrew perished across the course of the conflict, and Martin’s compellingly-delivered story stands as testament to their courage, both in and out of the air.