An autobiography by a World War II Fleet Air Arm Swordfish pilot. Charles Lamb fought and survived an exceptional war flying the obsolete and inelegant Fleet Air Arm biplane, the 90-knot Fairey Swordfish, popularly known as the "Stringbag". Charles Lamb fought in the thick of action. He was the last to land on Courageous before she was sunk in September 1939. He made 29 sorties over northern Europe, minelaying, U-boat hunting and dive bombing; he attacked E-boats throughout the nine days of Dunkirk; he was one of the two pathfinders who led the way to the Battle of Taranto, when 20 Swordfish virtually destroyed the Italian fleet. He was shot down by Stukas, but flew again, into the desert, to Greece, and from a secret base in Albania. In Malta, he successfully carried out orders to "sink Rommel's shipping". He also made cloak-and-dagger runs ferrying British agents to and from Tunisia. This is his story, from the first day of war as a Lieutenant on board Courageous to the accident aboard Implacable in action against the Japanese in June 1945, which ended his war but not his flying career. It is a story of determination, action, spirit and pride.
Charles Lamb was born in 1914, and went to sea as an apprentice with the Clan Line in 1930. He later served as a Midshipman in the RNR , and joined the RAF in 1935 to learn to fly. He transferred to the Fleet Air Arm in 1938, flew throughout the war, and was given a permanent commission in 1945. He remained active in naval and public affairs until his death in 1981.