In his own words: a pilot’s wartime tale

“THE fire was getting somwhat out of hand by now, with the flames stretching back from the trailing edge of the wing to beyond the tail...

“It didn’t take long to decide that it was all up, and I told Johnny to jettison the bombs. When he reported that this was done, I gave the order to abandon the aircraft.”

The details are told in a matter of fact way. But they portray the terrifying 
reality that pilots faced in the skies during the Second World War.

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The author is Wing Commander 
Oliver Wells OBE – of Bedford’s Charles Wells brewing family – and is his fascinating personal account of life as a pilot more than 60 years ago.

Pitch Black To Plane Fare concentrates on three periods of his flying 
career – as a flying instructor, pathfinder and flying boat pilot.

The words at the beginning are part of his description which saw him narrowly surive as his Lancaster plane plummeted to earth.

He then spent five months under the nose of Nazi occupying forces, only to be eventually caught by the Gestapo and incarcerated in a huge civilian prison at Loos.

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Following the end of the war, and freedom, his flying story doesn’t end there with his involvement in the huge humanitarian Berlin airlift Operation Plane Fare a few years later.

Wg Comm Wells resigned his commission in the 1950s to take over the family brewing business.

But his interest in flying remained, as a trustee of the Shuttleworth Trust in Old Warden and he made his last sortie aged 72.

In total his flying career spanned more than 50 years with over 3,000 hours in more than 40 different types of aircraft.

Pitch Black to Plane Fare costs £4.99, and copies can be ordered online at - profits from sales are going to the Royal Air Force Benevoent Fund.

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