Helena Schrader's Historical Fiction

Dr. Helena P. Schrader is the winner of more than 20 literary accolades. For a complete list of her awards see: http://helenapschrader.com

Helena is represented by Laurie Blum Guest at the Re-Naissance Agency.

For readers tired of clichés and cartoons, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers nuanced insight to historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves.

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Battle of Britain - The Unsung Heroes: "Erks"

 It was not the pilots alone who won the Battle of Britain. The RAF worked hard to ensure that its pilots were supported by some of the best trained ground crews in the world.

With an ‘apprentice’ program, the RAF had attracted technically minded young men early and provided them with extensive training throughout the inter-war years. In some ways, ground crews were better educated than many pilots.

Under the circumstances and given the fact that many pilots came up from the ranks themselves, it is hardly surprising that the relations between pilots and crews were on the whole excellent. The RAF had a notoriously relaxed attitude towards discipline in any case, and this further worked to break down barriers.

Last but not least, at this stage of the war, individual crews looked after individual aircraft and so specific pilots. The ground crews identified strongly with their unit – and ‘their’ pilots. After the bombing of the airfields started in mid-August, the ground crews were themselves under attack, suffering casualties and working under deplorable conditions – often without hot food, dry beds, adequate sleep and no leave. The ground crews never failed their squadrons. Aircraft were turned around – rearmed, re-fuelled, and thoroughly checked – in just minutes. 

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  1. Ahh, those "heady days."

    When people had a work ethic.

  2. And not to forget the resistance helpers in the occupied countries, like the Netherlands, who ran to assist downed pilots and brought them along secret pathways and vi hiding addresses to the coast to ship them back to base.
    Johanna van Zanten

    1. While not essential to the success of the Battle, wonderful for morale. More needs to be written about them!