Moral Fibre is the story of a bomber pilot, which means his crew inherently plays an important
role in the novel. They are the men Kit both depends on and for whom he
is responsible. Each of them is an individual with a backstory, a
character and dreams of their own. I have striven to depict them as
sharply as possible and to make the reader care about them too. The most important of Kit's crew was his navigator: Adrian Peal.
Before talking more about Adrian, it is important to understand that unlike the USAAF, which simply assigned men to a crew, the RAF relied on an informal procedure for "crewing up." Once men were sufficiently proficient in their own trade (i.e. pilot, navigator, bomb aimer etc. ) to be ready for operational training, they were sent to an Operational Training Unit where men from all the six trades necessary to man a heavy bomber collected. Here the trainees were collected in a large hall and told to "sort themselves out." This process occurred quite early on in training, usually within the first two weeks, and it lasted until every pilot had a complete crew. Thereafter, the men trained together as a crew.
Standing in the echoing hall filled with eager young men chatting, laughing, gesturing and shaking hands, Kit felt like bad luck. Tapping someone on the shoulder would be like the grim reaper pointing a finger at them. On the other hand, if he approached no one, he would be left with the dregs, the men no one else wanted. The result would be a crew of misfits, further diminishing his -- and their -- chances of survival.
Then an odd thing happened. Pilot Officer Peal walked over to him. As one of the few commissioned navigators, he and Kit had run into one another regularly at the officers' mess. Tall, blond, slender, and elegant, Peal was a film-maker's image of an RAF officer. Forrester alleged that Peal's father was a famous and successful barrister, while his mother was supposedly the daughter of a fabulously wealthy American "railway baron." Kit mistrusted rumors of this sort, but there was no question that Peal had a ready smile and an easy-going nature combined with the manners of a perfect gentleman.
"Moran?" He smiled as he approached. "Any objections to me as your navigator?"
Objections? Moran already liked the modest and soft-spoken Englishman. Furthermore, hea nd Peal had shared a couple of pints just a few days ago, during which they had discovered a common interest in buildings, Moran as a would-be civil engineer and Peal as a man with a degree in architecture. What mattered most, however, was that Moran had flown with Peal, and he was absolutely first-rate as a navigator. Peal had been precisely atop of every check point dead on time. If anyone was not a misfit or the dregs, it was Peal. If further proof was needed, Forrester had targeted Peal as the man he wanted for his crew. Moran glanced towards the Australian and, sure enough, Forrester was making his way back across the large chamber in evident haste.
Still reeling from the unexpectedness of the offer, Kit stammered uncertainly, "No, of course I have no objections. I'd be pleased to fly with you, Peal--"
Peal didn't give Kit a chance to express any reservations. He broke into a smile and held out his hand. "Shall we go by first names? I'm Adrian, in case you forgot."
"MORAL FIBRE" WON THE HEMINGWAY AWARD 2022 FOR 20TH CENTURY WARTIME FICTIONIT ALSO RECEIVED A MAINCREST MEDIA AWARD FOR MILITARY FICTION AND WAS A FINALIST FOR THE BOOK EXCELLENCE AWARD 2023 IN THE CATEGORY HISTORICAL FICTION.
Riding the icy, moonlit sky,
they took the war to Hitler.
Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent.
Their average age was 21.
This is the story of just one bomber pilot, his crew and the woman he loved.
It is intended as a tribute to them all.
or Barnes and Noble.
Winner of a Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime
Fiction, a Maincrest Media Award for Military Fiction and Silver in the Global Book Awards.
Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/where-eagles-never-flew
For more information about all my books visit: https://www.helenapschrader.com
Disfiguring injuries, class prejudice and PTSD are the focus of three tales set in WWII by award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader. Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/grounded-eagles