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Summary

We were doing about 620 miles per hour, 200 feet above the desert, in total darkness. Everything was running on rails as we approached the target. Then all hell broke loose. I remember the missile being fired at us; I broke left and shouted, 'Chaff!'

All I could see was a flame, like a very large firework, coming towards me. Then there was a huge white flash. I remember an enormous wind, and then I was knocked unconscious. My last thoughts were that I was going to die.

The Royal Air Force’s Tornado bomber was a Cold War invention, designed primarily to deliver tactical nuclear weapons onto Warsaw Pact targets in the hope of slowing a mass Soviet onslaught. We who flew her in the 1980s knew that if we ever went to war, there would be very little to come home to. Then, in 1990, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and occupation of neighbouring Kuwait, setting in motion a chain of events that had unimaginable political, military and personal repercussions, which still reverberate around the globe today.

This is the story of my fellow aircrew at the heart of Operation Desert Storm, almost none of whom had any prior experience of armed combat. It is the story of the Tornado’s missions, of those who did not return - and of the families who watched and waited as one of the most complex conflicts in recent history unfolded live on television. It is a story of untold fear and suffering, and astounding courage in the face of what, for us, was hitherto unimaginable adversity.

'No! Not my dad!' I screamed.

Suddenly, reality kicked in; all the pieces clicked into place - what I was seeing on the news, conversations at home between my parents about friends being killed in aircraft crashes.... At 12 years old, a light was turned on in my head, and I understood what it all meant. I broke down in tears....

©2021 John Nichol (P)2021 Simon & Schuster UK

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What a book!

I am a little biased because I served with a number of the gentlemen featured in this book as groundcrew on Tornado during the 1980’s. I have followed their escapades during the Gulf War but have for the first time heard their families side of the story! Truly humbled about what they went through and overcame!! My only criticism is that the squadron numbers were said as separate numbers instead of the correct 15 or 27 for example!! As in the previous Lancaster book the sound of the crews audio and engine noises gives it a further lift!! Nice touch!!
Would recommend this to anyone who has read/heard Tornado Down!! This is more Tornado Down plus!!

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