Pathfinder. A War Autobiography

BENNETT, Air Vice-Marshal D.C.T. Pathfinder. A War Autobiography.

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BENNETT, Air Vice-Marshal D.C.T. Pathfinder. A War Autobiography. London: Frederick Muller Ltd., 1958.

8vo., blue publisher's boards, lettered in gilt to spine; in the surprisingly scarce illustrated dust jacket, here presented unclipped; portrait frontis of the author; pp. [iv], v-x, 11-287, [i]; numerous black and white photographs throughout; an incredibly bright, and attractive example, the upper edge stain a little faded, with a few light spots to edges; jacket perhaps a tad rubbed to extremities and darkened to the rear panel/fold; a remarkable copy, nonetheless.
First edition, seldom found in the jacket.
The autobiography of Air Vice-Marshall D.C.T. Bennett, an Australian aviation pioneer and bomber pilot who rose to become the youngest air vice marshal in the Royal Air Force. He has been described as "one of the most brilliant technical airmen of his generation: an outstanding pilot, a superb navigator who was also capable of stripping a wireless set or overhauling an engine". In July 1942, Bennett was appointed to command the new Pathfinder Force, a target-marking squadron tasked with locating and marking targets with flares, which a main bomber force could aim at, therefore increasing the accuracy of their bombing. Before this time, night-time raids deep into Germany had had little success, as only about a quarter of the loads were delivered on target. This role he carried out right up until the end of the war in 1945.