By Nigel Slater 31/05 Updated: 31/05 12:29
INTEREST in a unique American aircraft which served a Vale village has been rejuvenated thanks to a newly published book.
Dr Bob Shaw, who lives in Broadway, lifts the lid about the Boeing 247D airliner which was used by the RAF in Defford in his new book titled Top Secret Boeing.
At the Royal Air Force Station in the Vale village, which was one of the most secret places in the country during the Second World War, aircrew, RAF pilots and scientists had great affection for the plane and found it the ideal aircraft in which to test their latest ideas and tactics.
Dr Shaw told the Observer the 212-page book took him about four years to put together and said the use of the American airliner proved crucial in Britain's win.
"The book is about a very unique plane that was in Defford served by the RAF during the war and was involved in a series of groundbreaking achievements," he said. "It was the most unlikely hero for a war time story.
"The RAF found that this old American Airliner was ideal for them. It was one of a kind and the only Boeing 247D this side of the water. They found it so valuable they went to great lengths to keep it flying.
"They say the Second World War was won on the playing fields of Malvern and in Defford and that's where the radar was developed which gave us the edge over the enemy.
"It is only since I retired and I heard about this one plane and then thought 'why should you go into the trouble of shipping an old airline across the Atlantic when we've got thousands of aircrafts in this country' and that is how I got intrigued."
On Saturday (May 26) Dr Shaw attended a special book signing session at Malvern Library which attracted a steady stream of veterans and their families with memories of the airliner.
"There's a lot of local interest and it was lovely to meet so many people and talk to them about Defford's history," he added. "I have been surprised by the number of people who have come to me and said 'that's great because no one has written about Defford this way before'."
Top Secret Boeing is on sale at Sedgeberrow Books in Pershore, Blandford Books in Broadway, The National Trust shop at Croome Park, Amazon and branches of Waterstones and W.H. Smiths.
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