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Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer

Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Length: 3 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer by Alastair Panton, read by Jonathan Keeble. 

As I write, I can clearly recall the stinging heat of a burning Blenheim, smells, tastes, expressions, sounds of voices and, most of all, fear gripping deep in me.

Flying Officer Alastair Panton was just 23 when his squadron deployed across the Channel in the defence of France. They were desperate days.

Pushed back to the beaches as the German blitzkrieg rolled through the Low Countries and into France, by June 4th 1940 the evacuation of the Allies from Dunkirk was complete. A little over two weeks later France surrendered.

Flying vital, dangerous, low-level missions throughout the campaign in support of the troops on the ground, Panton's beloved but unarmed Bristol Blenheim was easy meat for the marauding Messerschmitts. At the height of fighting he was losing two of his small squadron's crews to the enemy every day.

Discovered in a box by his grandchildren after his death in 2002, Alastair Panton's Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer is a lost classic. One of the most moving, vivid and powerful accounts of war in the air ever written. And an unforgettable testament to the courage, stoicism, camaraderie and humanity of Britain's greatest generation.

©2018 Alastair Panton (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"The best account of the chaos and confusion of war outside the pages of Evelyn Waugh." (The Times)

"One can't help feeling awe and reverence for people like this. There are enough adventures here for a lifetime." (Louis de Bernieres)

"Simply wonderful. One of the best accounts of WWII I have ever read." (John Nichol)

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Blenheim Reflection in Darkest Times of 1940

Well delivered and thoroughly engaging. The fact that Blenheim pilots were victims of their obsolete aircraft you can only applaud their sacrifice, courage and mettle against all odds. This biography of sorts of Alastair Panton father is superbly documented with facts, antidotes and whimsical tomes, but above all it portrays the six weeks of May-June 1940 when the Germans advanced through France despite the efforts of gallant French and British Airmen to stem the tide. The book focuses of the Reconnaissance Blenheim force, which though heavily outperformed by the Luftwaffe fighters, struggled to but successfully achieved the vital situational information required daily by the ground forces. The tells of the aircrew and groundcrew interactions; and the interactions of the local French people who above all did help when needed. I recommend this book; it is six hours of enlightenment added with entertainment.

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excellent short memoir of 1940

covers a tiny part of RAF history during the battle of France, enlightening and thought provoking.

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A 'must read' for future generations

Absolutely thoroughly recommend this book. It may be a short read but has a lasting impact. It adds greatly to helping to understand the fall of France and the debacle of May/June 1940. The humanity, decency, comoradary & compassion of the brave Blenheim crews & Alastair Panton the author of the book shines out as an example of the best in humanity in wartime. All generations present & future should be sobered by the statistic that out of 25 of the authors contemporaries at 'flying school', only 3 survived the end of the war. RAF casualty figures are sadly often passed over in the overall casualty picture of the second world war. As the authors son David says as an epilogue to his father & his brave comrades, Rest In Peace.

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Thought provoking

I really enjoyed this book and realise how lucky we future generations are but doubt we would be as resilient. RIP

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A book of excellence

I’ve read many historical books about the RAF throughout WW2 and enjoyed most of them for their content. I came across this book by chance and found it to be possibly the best I’ve ever read.

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A fascinating, and moving account from a pilot,who does not forget to include his crew, and ground crew,against the odd

This book should be compulsory reading for all teen-agers, it would bring home to them what so many of the WW2 generation sacrificed so that today's children could be free from Nazi domination.
A marvellous read.

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Superb

This is a first-rate account of the summer of 1940 during the Battle for France and of the sacrifices made by the brave airman that flew aircraft such as the Blenheim and Fairy Battles. Should be compulsory GSCE material.

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Wonderfully written, superbly narrated.

An amazing first hand account of the fall of France, which must have been hard for the author to revisit.

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A "must hear" story about the RAF in early WW2

A "must hear" story about a part of the RAF's role in the early part of WW2 that isn't available elsewhere. Just a shame that the narrator is an idiot. Odd-E-ham is NOT a place in Hampshire or anywhere else -- the narrator is a pain! So irritating. But, the idiot narrator why didn't bother to check so important a place name aside, this is one fantastic and engaging story. Thank you for publishing. I highly recommend.

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Heroism amidst chaos

Awesome story of fighting on regardless in outclassed machines against the overwhelming
Nightmare of the collapse of. France
One of the best air memoirs I’ve ever read and unique in depicting the raf role in trying to prevent the collapse

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  • Salui
  • 18-06-18

Enjoyable and quite interesting recollections of the early months of the war

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the recollections of a British pilot in the early months of World War Two in France. It is performed beautifully