Wings on My Sleeve

By Eric 'Winkle' Brown

Subtitled, ‘the world’s greatest test pilot tells his story’, this is a book that comes with a little bit of baggage. Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown flew 487 types of aircraft, it’s true. And he was arrested, by the Gestapo, in 1939, while on a University of Edinburgh exchange course in Germany: they released him fairly quickly, not realising he was a pilot in the RAF volunteer reserve. However, among Winkle’s 2,407 aircraft carrier landings and eleven plane crashes, there are one or two anecdotes that might benefit from a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, as the memoir of one of Britain’s few German-speaking airmen, it is well worth reading. It’s not a warm book – Brown’s humour is dry and understated for the most part – but it is the well-told story of a man who enjoyed a distinguished war and post-war aviation career.

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