Articles

Graham Pitchfork has written almost 250 articles for a wide variety of aviation magazines and journals.  He is one of the main feature writers for Britain’s top-selling aviation monthly, Flypast Magazine, and has written many articles for its special editions, including anniversaries of the Battle of Britain, the Dam Buster’s Raid and D-Day, and commemorative editions for the anniversaries of iconic aircraft such as the Lancaster, Mosquito and Spitfire.  Some of his feature articles have been published in the French aviation magazines Aero Journal and Le Fana de Aviation.

Graham is also a regular contributor of historical articles for the RAF’s official annual publication, RAF Salute,  and his papers delivered at the RAF Historical Society’s seminars are published in the Society’s Journal.  He is also a regular writer for the fortnightly RAF News.

Since 2003, he has been the aviation obituary writer for the Daily Telegraph and has compiled almost 500 entries.  He also writes the aviation entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. His obituaries can be viewed on the Daily Telegraph website HERE, and those published since April 2016 HERE.


Below is a small selection of Graham’s articles on RAF topics, which represent the various themes he writes on and include biographies, human stories, military operations, escape and evasion and history.

Biographies

  • Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar – courageous leader of the Dam Busters’ raid who was a complex and difficult man.
  • Neville Duke DSO, OBE, DFC & 2 Bars AFC – a tribute to an ‘ace’ fighter pilot and Hawker’s test pilot, one of Britain’s most distinguished aviators.
  • Group Captain Dennis Witt DSO, DFC, DFM – former RAF apprentice and Pathfinder Master Bomber who flew 100 bombing operations..
  • Lieutenant General Reg Lane DSO, DFC & Bar – a Canadian Halifax pilot who commanded a Pathfinder squadron.

Human Stories

The majority of articles have a heavy emphasis on people’s achievements, gallantry, service etc.  These include over fifty articles on Men Behind the Medals and over twenty which outline the experiences of men who flew a particular type of aircraft, for example, Men Behind the Blenheim and Men Behind the Sunderland.  Apart from these regular features, there are many other individual titles such as:

  • Some of the Few – short biographies of some Battle of Britain pilots including a Canadian, a Pole and an Englishman.
  • For Valour – the men of Bomber Command who received Britain’s supreme gallantry award, the Victoria Cross
  • Nursing at the Front – the first women ashore in Normandy were nursing sisters of Princess Mary’s RAF Nursing Service.

Escape and Evasion

In addition to his book Shot Down and on the Run, numerous articles have been written about aspects of escape and evasion.

  • Shot Down but Fighting On – eight pilots shot down behind enemy lines who escaped from captivity or evaded capture to return and fight again.
  • Burma Jungle Evaders – the story of three men shot down over the Burmese jungle who fought heir way back through Japanese – held territory.
  • Behind Enemy Lines – profiles of some daring rescues behind enemy lines that led to awards of gallantry medals.
  • On the Run – the first ‘Home Runners’ evading the enemy to gain their freedom.

Military Operations

This section includes a wide variety of operations conducted by the RAF in all theatres of the Second World War and in post war involvements.  Below is a small selection.

  • Search, Shadow and Strike – the epic story of one of the greatest sea battles of all time, the destruction of Germany’s largest battleship the Bismarck.
  • Operation Jericho – the attack on Amiens Jail by a force of Mosquitos.
  • D-Day – Preparing the Way – a description of the meticulous and extensive operations that led up to the Normandy invasion.
  • Bombs on Venice – the only bombing raid authorised on the historic Italian city.

Post-war operations include:

  • Britain’s Nuclear Dawn – Operation Grapple, the dropping of Britain’s first hydrogen bomb in 1958.
  • Cold War Tac Recce – RAF Germany’s low-level photographic reconnaissance squadrons 1945-1991.
  • Buccaneers Clean Up – Operation Mop Up, the airborne attempt to avoid an environmental disaster after the super tanker Torrey Canyon ran aground.

History

  • In Pink’s Footsteps – the RAF’s campaigns in the North-West Frontier 1918 – 1939.
  • A Hard-fought Day in the Battle of Britain – the Luftwaffe attack against the north of England on 15 August 1940.
  • Gardening – air-dropped mines proved to be unsung war winners and Bomber Command’s mining campaign was a resounding, if unheralded, success.
  • Jungle Strike Force – the exploits of the RAF’s Third Tactical Air Force in Burma.
  • Strike Wing – birth of the North Coates Strike Wing and its subsequent operations with  the Beaufighter attacking convoys off the Dutch and Norwegian coasts.