It is 1941 and you are 21, flying the most famous aircraft ever built. You have at your command a Merlin V12 engine and four 20mm Hispano cannon. You spend your days hunting the Hun over the English Channel and your evenings partying in London, experiencing the perils of aerial combat and the hazards of wartime romance in the same day. War doesn’t get any better than this.
It is 1943 and you are 23, living in a swamp that pretends to be an airstrip south of Darwin. These days the Japanese come over so infrequently that you are going troppo. None of the women you left behind in London and Sydney seems to give a damn about you. Most of your mates are dead. There is no beer. War is hell.
All this and much more Flying Officer Allen Mawer confided to his diary, a candid and sometimes disconcerting record of his conquests in the air and on the ground. The highs and lows of his war, and how it ended, offer a lively and poignant insight into the human cost of armed conflict.