/ New Book: Spitfire over Everest, Kenneth Neame
Spitfire over Everest, Kenneth D Neame (Hayloft Publishing)
Just before India became independent, my father was stationed in a photo reconnaissance squadron.
On a whim, and because he could (although not legally), he buzzed over to Everest to "have a look", as you do. Tibet was closed at the time, having just been taken over by China, so my Dad sat on his photos and the story for a while until planning began for Shipton's reconnaissance expedition to evaluate the approach via Nepal.
This book is the story behind these pictures:
It is a detailed description of flight training in post-war national service and the wonderfully "go for it" attitude in those rather chaotic times.
More info and purchasing information http://www.hayloft.eu/spitfire%20over%20everest.html
The theme is the background to how he came to be in India, in control of a Spitfire (capable of going to well over the height of Everest – he tested it) and wandering around in the air over the Himalayas before there were many accurate maps. The view of the S Ridge shown was a clear indication that the S Col route would “go”, provided the S Col could be reached.
Whatever one feels about National Service, it clearly gave some great opportunities if you took advantage of the time and place!
Nice one Pete. I can't imagine how this makes you feel.
Pretty chuffed - just sad that my father never saw it. I think it was the thing he was most pleased about doing in his life. Possibly apart from meeting my mother and bringing up three reasonably decent kids. Well, two, anyway.
If you're as old as I am and remember national service, the Empire and the mentalities of that period its a thoroughly good read
Thanks John! Glad you enjoyed it - especially the non-Everest bits.
It is, of course, fascinating to me, but one always wonders whether it has broad appeal. I am glad it does. I always thought my Dad was a good writer.
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