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No Need to Die: American Flyers in RAF Bomber Command    by Gordon Thorburn order for
No Need to Die
by Gordon Thorburn
Order:  USA  Can
Haynes, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Few people realize that prior to the United States’ entry into World War II, a handful of Americans traveled to England to volunteer for service in the RAF Bomber Command.

This volume chronicles the stories and flying careers of 21 Americans who fought in the air war over Europe with the RAF's two premier Bomber Command squadrons – the 9th and 617th. Of these valiant individuals, 15 died in action.

For the first time, Gordon Thorburn tells story of these men who left homes in Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and many other states to seek adventure and fight Nazi Germany.

The inclusion of 35 black and white photos enables the reader to flesh out the stories of the flyers who took to the sky in Lancaster, Vickers Wellington, and Halifax heavy aircraft bearing the RAF insignia.

In Bomber Command, 55,000 aircrew died in the Second World War but these volunteers from America were different, writes Thorburn. Either it wasn't their war when they joined, or they were so determined to join it that they enlisted in Canada when their own air force refused them. They, above all else, had no need to die.

Anyone interested in military aviation history or World War II will find this book a fascinating tale of some true unsung heroes whose exploits have been largely forgotten.

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