The Crew recounts the intimate, personal testimonies of Wing Commander Ken Cook, who served as Bomb Aimer with the Comans crew. The audiobook specifically follows Flying Officer Jim Comans and his crewmen from their enlistment as volunteers, through training and into operational service. The Comans crew flew 45 hazardous bombing missions - mostly deep into Germany at night - through the winter of 1943 to the summer of 1944.
At 95, Ken Cook is the crew's last survivor. Enlisting in the RAF Bomber Command at 19, his extraordinary story brings a moving insight into the bombing campaign. His experiences, particularly during the Battle of Berlin, highlight the extreme danger each bomber crew faced. With Bomber Command's casualty rate of over 44 percent, the book describes how the airmen overcame immense physical and mental challenges to survive. There are now very few surviving RAF Bomber Command airmen from the Second World War. The Crew will be one of the final eyewitness testimonies to a momentous time in our history.
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Interesting individual tales, challenged narration
There are some interesting personal stories recounted, but the author does not give much context for the training of the crew ('other' air crew spent as many weeks in training as pilots) never mentioning the Commonwealth Air Training Program, though recounting a specific US training program. The narrator has some challenges with proper-name pronunciation and acronyms; air crew fly with the "raaf" (as opposed to the R-A-A-F, or Royal Australian Air Force).
Leo McKinstry's 'Lancaster: The Second World War's Greatest Bomber' does a better job recounting the air crew roles and the huge challenge faced by crews attempting to bail out (far worse survival than the Halifax).