Stolen Youth. "Nicky Barr, an Australian Air Ace: A Story of Courage and Adventure" by Peter Dornan and "Catalina Dreaming: Rescues, Exciting Missions, and Other Stories" by Andrew McMillan. [review]
These are two quite different books about two quite different aspects of Australia's involvement in the air war of 1939–45. Andrew McMillan, in "Catalina Dreaming", describes in an effective, episodic manner what the war was like for the aircrew and ground staff of the RAAF who flew, serviced and maintained the "Catalina" flying boats. These aircraft were operated from Northern Australian bases over long expanses of water against distant Japanese targets. McMillan presents a colourful account of what it was like being involved in the war fought from areas such as Little Lagoon, the Qantas Base on Groote Eylandt opened in 1938, or Melville Bay in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Peter Dornan takes us from the nine-man crew of the "Catalina" to the high-speed, single-seater fighter aircraft operating in the Middle East against Italian and German opponents. Andrew William Barr, known as Nicky, was born in New Zealand, but was raised in Victoria. His war biography as presented by Peter Dornan would not have surprised youthful readers of the "Boys' Own Paper".