Moonlight Flyer: Diary of a Second World War Navigator

Moonlight Flyer: Diary of a Second World War Navigator

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Overview

One of the many wartime airmen who documented his day to day experiences in a diary, was RCAF navigator Jan Gellner. Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Jan was a lawyer practicing in the Czechoslovak town of Brno. With the outbreak of hostilities on the European continent, he went to Canada and trained as an air observer on the first course of the fledgling British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Jan Gellner began his operational tour with No. 311 ‘Czechoslovak’ (B) Squadron flying the venerable Vickers Wellington. It did not take long for Jan's abilities to shine, especially as an instructor in astro navigation. For his farrowing role in the attack on the German cruise Prinz Eugen, Jan received the coveted Distinguished Flying Cross. After an incredible 37 operations over occupied France and Germany, he became Operational Tour Expired. Jan was selected for pilot training and went to Canada. During his postwar service with the RCAF, he had a distinguished career as an administrative officer, retiring in 1958. Now a civilian, Jan turned to writing and became one of Canada's most knowledgeable and sought after aviation and military affairs journalist.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781555095
Publisher: Fonthill Media
Publication date: 06/15/2016
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jan Gellner was a lawyer practicing in the Czechoslovak town of Brno. With the outbreak of hostilities on the European continent, he went to Canada and trained as an air observer on the first course of the fledgling British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. During his post-war service with the RCAF, he had a distinguished career as an administrative officer, retiring in 1958. Now a civilian, Jan turned to writing and became one of Canada's most knowledgeable and sought after aviation and military affairs journalist.

Pavel Vančata is a highly respected Czech aviation historian, author and journalist specializing in Czechoslovaks who served in the RAF during the Second World War. He has published five books in Czech, one in English and also co-authored several other books on related subject matter. He has been a regular contributor to the Czech aviation magazine REVI since 2003. Pavel was born and raised in Prague. He graduated in 2003 as a Telecommunication Engineer from the Czech Technical University in Prague. He is currently employed as a team leader in the Technical Support Department of an international telecommunication company.

Table of Contents

Foreword 5

Preface 7

Acknowledgements 10

List of Abbreviations 15

Notes on the Diary 19

Part I War Diary

1 Canada to England, 15-24 November 1940 23

2 Liverpool, 24-25 November 1940 26

3 Uxbridge, 25-29 November 1940 28

4 Journey to East Wretham, 30 November-3 December 1940 31

5 Beginning at No. 311 (B) Squadron, 3-21 December 1940 33

6 Course at Manby, 21 December 1940-5 January 1941 38

7 Back with No. 311 (B) Squadron, 6 January-2 February 1941 41

8 Leave in London, 2-6 February 1941 48

9 Third Stage at East Wretham, 6 February-2 May 1941 51

10 Nottingham and London, 2-9 May 1941 78

11 Back with No. 311 (B) Squadron, 9 May-3 June 1941 82

12 London and Kemble, 4-11 June 1941 90

13 Back in Wretham, 11-23 June 1941 95

14 Third Leave, 24-30 June 1941 101

15 No. 311 (B) Squadron, 1 July-11 August 1941 105

Part II Biography

16 John Gellner: Solicitor, Mountaineer, Airman, Journalist 126

Appendix I Decorations Awarded to John Gellner 154

Appendix II Correspondence Regarding the Award of Czechoslovak Decorations to John Gellner 162

Appendix III Air Raid on the Cruiser Prinz Eugen in Brest Harbour, Night of 1-2 July 1941 171

Appendix IV Aircraft Flown by John Gellner 179

Appendix V Graduates of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan's First Air Observers Course 184

Appendix VI Pilot Officer Sydney 'Timbertoes' Carlin MC DFC DCM 200

Endnotes 203

Bibliography and References 222

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