Fighting High Books
Stirling to Essen
THE GODMANCHESTER STIRLING: A BOMBER COMMAND STORY OF COURAGE AND TRAGEDY
Hardback - 256pp (including 32pp of black and white photographs) - 234 x 156mm.
World Rights - Fighting High Ltd. ISBN - 978-0-9934152-8-9.
On 11 April 1942, a stricken Short Stirling Royal Air Force bomber crashes into fields to the east of Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire, England. Hours earlier the commitment and skill of the crew had been tested to the limit confronting the formidable searchlight and flak defences of the German city of Essen.
This event, hidden for so long, had drifted into the fog of history, but a chance email led to this amazing story revealing itself. An epic tale of a wealthy young man, whose mother died during his birth, who lived for excitement, and who went on to join the RAF in 1938. Matthew Drummond Henderson Wilson went on to become a ferry pilot, a Flying Instructor and finally a test pilot. In October 1941, he joined RAF Bomber Command’s No. XV Squadron becoming a Squadron Leader, and taking part in numerous raids on Brest and the Ruhr. Stirling to Essen is also the story of the men who served alongside their pilot, and the unbreakable bond of friendship they found as they soared over the deadly skies of the Third Reich and occupied Europe. What became of these men, did fate smile upon them or was luck to desert them? Time and again new and unexpected stories came to light, embroidering the already rich tapestry.
Author Roger Leivers’ meticulous and comprehensive research has brought to life the remarkable story of the Godmanchester Stirling. A story of friendship, bravery, and sacrifice, acted out against the nightly threat of never returning to this sceptred isle again.
Born in Daybrook, Nottingham, in 1955, Roger Leivers eventually moved to the Cambridgeshire town of Godmanchester in 1989. Here he became involved in volunteer groups, and launched annual local historical war walks to raise money for the local museum and the upkeep of the town’s war memorial. This led him to be involved with The Porch Museum, with a special interest in the effect both wars had on the town and its people.