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The Silver Spitfire

The Legendary WWII RAF Fighter Pilot in His Own Words
By: Tom Neil
Narrated by: Roger Davis
Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A brilliantly vivid Second World War memoir by one of 'the Few' Spitfire fighter pilots. 

Following the D-Day landings, Battle of Britain hero Tom Neil was assigned as an RAF liaison to an American fighter squadron. 

As the Allies pushed east, Neil commandeered an abandoned Spitfire as his own personal aeroplane. Erasing any evidence of its provenance and stripping it down to bare metal, it became the RAF's only silver Spitfire.   

Alongside his US comrades, he took the silver Spitfire into battle until, with the war's end, he was forced to make a difficult decision. Faced with too many questions about the mysterious rogue fighter, he contemplated increasingly desperate measures to offload it, including bailing out mid-Channel. 

He eventually left the Spitfire at Worthy Down, never to be seen again.  

The Silver Spitfire is the firsthand, gripping story of Neil's heroic experience as an RAF fighter pilot and his reminiscences with his very own personal Spitfire.

©2019 Wg Cdr Tom Neil (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about The Silver Spitfire

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not much action.

This tells the story of a prior RAAF Ace, who was assigned to a US squadron as a liaison officer. He mainly just flew around on his own non-war related issues, occasionally seeing some of the devastation of the final months of the war on the western front, but not taking part in any of it. Some interesting stories here and there, but disappointing in terms of action stories.

1 person found this helpful

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The Silver Spitfire. A great account.

if you're after a thrill a minute account of battles this is not your book. if you're after a great account of a man's life in WW2 then this is it. Great stories and descriptions of many aircraft and people. I loved it.

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Fabulous story

Narration is somewhat monotone but the story speaks for itself. The detail of the Authors memory is astounding.

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A story about a likable character in WW2

This is a good read by a very likable and interesting author about his days serving as an RAF pilot in WW2. Overall, the author is a good story teller, but does get bogged down in detail sometimes. Based on the title, I was expecting an action packed book about a spitfire, and instead received a pleasant story about what this nice chap had for lunch each day during the war. It's still a very good and worthwhile read. Its a day-in-the-life first-person narrative, which I must admit, I did ultimately enjoy all the same.

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  • John
  • 10-07-2020

Good Story, But Little Action

This is a thoroughly enjoyable memoir of one part of pilot Tom Neil's long life; specifically, when he was appointed as an RAF liaison officer to the U.S. Ninth Air Force's 100th Fighter Wing. Most of the story focuses on Neil's non-combat experiences and adventures with Americans, who Neil finds alternatively admirable, amusing, and sometimes a little disgusting. Despite a few close calls (not from combat), most of Neil's experiences in this part of his life seem to have been enjoyable. The Silver Spitfire doesn't make an appearance until relatively late in the book, and it is an interesting story, but it really is not the focus of the book. Neil did not go into combat in that plane. Neil's combat experience--which was very extensive--all predated this book. If you know what the book covers, and adjust your expectations accordingly, I think you will enjoy it. The narration ranges from really good--when the narrator is speaking for Neil--to jarringly bad--when the narrator (eminently British) tries to imitate an American accent. Many of Neil's American friends were from the South, and Neil often notes that they spoke in a very southern accent. For this narrator, EVERY American accent comes out as a fairly bad imitation of a Brooklyn accent. To say that he cannot do a southern accent is an understatement. Pretty irritating to this American listener. Then again, I imagine American narrators regularly butcher British accents to the British ear!

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  • MR ADRIAN M EASTON
  • 28-12-2019

A really interesting book, and very well read by the narrator

Fascinating, engaging and most importantly, factual. Tom Neil shares some his fascinating memories with the reader and they don’t disappoint! Set circa 1943 - 1945, Wing Commander Tom Neil provides a great insight into his RAF and USAAF days, and even though the Silver Spitfire comes into the book late, it’s still a very entertaining and rather sobering read all the way through.

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  • andy
  • 20-10-2020

interesting but not exciting

this book could be titled 'a list of planes I've flown - by an english prude' you don't catch a glimpse of the enemy in this whole book. well written and very well read.

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  • Philip
  • 15-10-2020

Charming and Interesting

As the book unfolded, I came to appreciate and like the man behind the story as a genuine decent chap. His wartime experiences were so diverse that it’s a fascinating record of the time.

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  • scrappy coco
  • 27-09-2020

A superb autobiography of a great man

Tom Neil has written a couple of books, this being the second and previous takes you through 1939/40 and Battle of Britain . this book i nearly overlooked due to its title and appent focus on the 'silver spit' i do like a good pilot's bio from this era. this book doesn't disappointed at all, infact its well worth listening to or reading. it's good, its not focused on a silver spit but Tom's life 1942/3-1945 and very interesting anecdotes that are funny, sad, informative and well written. it's very well narrated too. reccomend.

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  • John Corcoran
  • 23-07-2020

Unexpectedly Humorous and Touching

I suppose I was expecting a rather more conventional "Spitfire" story, but got a surprise package in this endearing and very loving account of the latter years of the war for Sq Ldr Tom Neil . Much of it centred on his unusual and eventful posting as an RAF liaison officer to the 100th USAAF. Neil is a naturally gifted story teller , his portraiture of the many individuals he encountered are fascinating both for their colour and perceptive attention to detail and often amusing idiosyncrasies. Also very interesting due to the accounts of the numerous types of aircraft Neil flew in that time, though it is often unclear as to why exactly he was flying them , though that degree of operational detail would I suppose become tedious eventually. The characters leap out of his account as very real and are often eccentric and unorthodox , Neil's tone of personal understatement, and his occasional disapproval of louche behaviour is strangely endearing , (and a little irritating) but is a reflection of the mores of the pre-war Britain he grew up in , which whilst gentlemanly , can seem a little priggish . On the whole a very interesting and often humorous account , very different from many war time accounts , and well worth listening to .