Using extensive research into official records held at The National Archives, Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork describes the formation and evolution of Air Sea Rescue in response to wartime events. He reveals how aircrews were trained to act in crash scenarios, the survival equipment they used, and the different methods of possible rescue - by RAF or Royal Navy launches, by airborne lifeboats, or by aircraft such as the Lysander or specialist amphibious and flying boats.
The second half of the book presents over 40 gripping, first-hand accounts of rescue and survival from the three main operational areas: north-west Europe, the Mediterranean and the Far East. One fighter pilot with particularly bad luck had to bale out over the Adriatic three times in three weeks; amazingly, he was also successfully rescued each time. Another came down in a minefield within range of the German guns at Calais; an amphibious aircraft still managed to pull off a daring rescue, dodging both mines and enemy fighters overhead. Many of these accounts are published for the first time - the result of new archival research or interviews with surviving members of the aptly named Goldfish Club.
Useful maps, diagrams and over 80 previously unpublished official and private photographs complement this unique record of human resourcefulness and courage.