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Weeks of suffering, followed by the return of eyesight and a long struggle to get back in control of his hands and have his face rebuilt.
Richard Hillary was not tamed by what he went through. Anglo-American, James survived the sinking of the SS Athenia off the Hebrides and distinguished himself by helping other survivors.His account of his first flight in a Spitfire is particularly delightful.The pages that follow are intense: the Battle of Britain, then fighter sweeps and escort missions over occupied France.The strength of character that emerges from the pages is hard to describe: Richard is direct, sincere and concise in his memories: the intensity comes from what he sees and goes through, there is no need for tinsels.Richard decided to write his story, and that of his lost comrades, when he was in the hospital, slowly recovering.
He trains in Nairobi, on Tiger Moths, then out to the huge base at Habbaniya, before joining 80 Squadron with its Gloster Gladiators.