Straggler at Dawn by Richard Taylor features a returning Lancaster bomber over the English countryside.
It’s been hours since the main force returned safely to base but one ground crew is still scanning the eastern horizon for the sound of Merlin engines, knowing their aircraft is long overdue and missing. The tension amongst them is almost as high as it’s been on board the missing Lancaster as it limps back alone across the cold North Sea.
Badly damaged by flak over Germany that has left two engines overheating, the crippled bomber, down on power and hard to handle, has fallen further and further behind the main formation. They soon find themselves alone. With no co-pilot to relieve him, the exhausted Lancaster pilot has called on help from his flight engineer and between them they have somehow coaxed the battered aircraft onwards. With the snow-clad landscape of England once more beginning to appear beneath them, they have finally made it home.
Richard Taylor’s inspired piece sees the straggler with just a few more miles to go before the pilot gets his Lancaster safely back on the ground and, after her ground crew have worked their magic, the bomber will soon be in the air again, ready to fight another day.
Straggler at Dawn by Richard Taylor is signed by two highly-regarded aircrew who flew Lancasters with RAF Bomber Command during WWII:
W.O. CECIL 'CHICK' CHANDLER Ld'H - Flight Engineer with 15 & 622 Sqns / 28 Ops
Wg Cdr JOHN BELL MBE DFC - Bomb-Aimer with 619 & 617 Sqns / 50 Ops.
18 x 15 inches overall including borders.
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