Wilfrid Freeman: The Genius Behind Allied Air Supremacy, 1939-1945 by Anthony Furse soon to be presented for sale on the sparkling BookLovers of Bath web site!
Published: Staplehurst: Spellmount Limited, 2000, Hardback in dust wrapper.
Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Diagrams; Maps; Illustrated endpapers and blanks;
From the cover: THERE WAS NOT ONE SINGLE MONOPLANE in squadron service on 1st April 1936, when Wilfrid Freeman accepted the task of choosing the aircraft with which to rearm the Royal Air Force.
Two years later he was given the added responsibility of controlling their production as well. But in May 1940 as the Merlin-powered Hurricanes and Spitfires flowed out of the factories to the fighter squadrons in steadily increasing quantities Lord Beaverbrook took political control of Freemans department. He renamed it the Ministry of Aircraft Production and claimed the credit for Freemans achievements.
Within six months Freeman was moved from the MAP against his will to become Vice-Chief of Air Staff to the new Chief of the Air Staff, the inexperienced Portal. For nearly two years they administered the rapidly growing Royal Air Force with great skill and with mutual confidence and loyalty.
But without Freemans decisive management, technical development and production at the MAP stagnated, and after long prevarication Churchill accepted that Freeman must be reinstated.
Within a mere six months he had cleared the backlog and refocused development and production in Britain on the most vital fighting aircraft, the Spitfire, Mosquito, Lancaster, Halifax and Tempest all of which he himself had chosen and the early jets. Output once again soared ahead.
It is widely known that it was Freeman who championed development of the unarmed Mosquito indeed it was dubbed Freemans Folly by the sceptics of the Air Ministry but he played an equally vital role in the development of the Merlin Mustang, the supreme Allied long-range fighter.
He was deeply involved in 1942 when Rolls-Royce installed Merlins in place of Allison engines in five Mustangs. He mounted a discrete and top-level lobbying exercise -ultimately through Churchill and Roosevelt -which persuaded the Americans, in November 1942, to treble production of Merlin Mustangs.
Adequate quantities of this supreme long-range fighter were therefore available in 1944, at a moment of crisis in the Air War. They cleared the skies of Europe for the Allies in the nick of time.
His heart strained by a decade of overwork, Freeman died in 1953. The late Professor R. V. Jones, CH, who knew, remembered and much admired Freeman, wrote the Foreword just before his death.
Introduction by: R. V. Jones
Very Good+ in Very Good+ Dust Wrapper.
Red boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 384 pages. Index. Bibliography. 10″ x 6¾”.