Dunkirk – Air Combat Archive

Over the past few months, we have been working hard on what is effectively a Dunkirk version of the Battle of Britain Combat Archive series. Covering from 21 May – 2nd June we thought we would just about fill the 128 page format with RAF Fighter Command’s operations over the beaches.  What we discovered in fact is that Fighter Command’s contribution to Operation Dynamo was far more significant than any history book will tell you and we have had to run to 192 pages to cover it all!  Packed with some amazingly rare wartime photos and specially commissioned maps and profiles, this is the Air Combat over Dunkirk in the pilots’ own words, using the usual blend of unedited combat, casualty and intelligence reports.

The book is now available for pre-order, just click on the cover for more information.  This is without doubt, one of the best books we’ve ever worked on so we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we have.  Publication date is 18th July.

PS.  For those based in the UK, look out for author Simon Parry on Channel 4, Sunday 2nd July at 8pm, appearing in ‘Dunkirk: The New Evidence” a new TV documentary about the RAF’s contribution to Operation Dynamo.  His research for our book plays a big part in the documentary.


Delivery problems

Our distributors Bookworld WS have discovered that their system malfunctioned for a few days around the end of August, causing them to miss around a dozen orders.  If your order number is between 3765 and 3781 then we apologise for the delay in getting your order to you, all are now in hand and will be despatched within the next 24 hrs.

As a general rule, all UK orders should normally arrive within a few days, so if your UK order is over a week old and undelivered, please do let us know.  (This doesn’t include advance pre-orders of course!)

Christmas Deliveries

As we’re getting closer to the big holiday, here’s confirmation from our distributors of their Christmas ‘opening hours’.

Officially, the last day for shipping orders in the U.K is the 18th December for second class. However, they will continue to send out Wing Leader orders up until 23rd December.  If you are in desperate need of something before Christmas then let us know, we’ll do our best to help.    After that they will be closed until 5th January when order despatch will resume again.  You can of course still place orders over the Christmas/New Year holiday on our website, all of which will be despatched from 5th January.

New Server

We moved this website to a new server last night so if you have any problems with any of the functionality of this site please let us know immediately.  It appears that everything is working normally now but, there’s always something!

email mark@wingleader.co.uk

New Titles have arrived

We are delighted to say that Luftwaffe Crash Archive 6 and 303 Squadron Volume One arrived into our storage facility today.  Tomorrow morning (Friday) the first 500 copies will be delivered to Bookworld our distribution company for them to start sending the first pre-orders out.  Also arriving with them tomorrow will be Volumes 2, 3 and 4 of the Luftwaffe Aces series which means that all the advance orders for the full limited edition sets will start to be despatched from Monday morning.  With well over 400 orders to attend to, Bookworld will be working hard next week to get all the pre-orders out as soon as possible, so please bear with us for a few days!

Luftwaffe Aces Series – A new schedule

We’ve managed to identify and fix the cause of the missing pages in the batch of Volume Ones that went out last week.   The book will therefore be reprinted and should be available within two or three weeks.  For those of you who have ordered just Volume One, your book will be sent in early November.  If you have already received one of the faulty copies, please feel free to use it as a door stop or recycle it somehow!

For those of you who have ordered the limited edition set of four, we will now endeavour to deliver all four books to you by mid to late November.  We understand that many of you have already received the first volume with one signature plate attached.  This was a mistake by our distributors who were clearly briefed to send all four signature plates unattached in an envelope.  We will follow this up in due course with them and make sure four plates and four books are dleivered to you all in November.

We can only apologise again for this technical problem, hopefully the series will prove to have been worth waiting for!

Production problem Luftwaffe Aces

We’ve discovered that some of the first batch of Luftwaffe Aces Volume Ones that have just gone out have page 297 – 316 missing.  If this includes you, don’t worry, we’re aware of the situation and will get the books reprinted as soon as possible.   We’ll post more about this at the weekend when we can get a new production schedule confirmed.  Sorry for the inconvenience!

Lettice Curtis – A Personal tribute

We were all saddened to hear of the death of Lettice Curtis last week as her autobiography was one of the first books that we published as Red Kite.  Simon Parry had known her for many years and here is his personal tribute to a remarkable woman.

Lettice Curtis
1915 –2014
A Personal Tribute
It’s always a sad day when someone you have known passes away, and so it was when I heard that Lettice had died last week.
A fine obituary can be found here:


But what was she really like?

We first met in the late 1980s when I helped her overcome some problems reprinting ‘Forgotten Pilots’ her history of the ATA. Typically ‘annoyed’ with incompetent publishers, Lettice decided that she would do it herself. She possessed a keen a memory and telephoned me some years later, ‘I want a publisher for my next book and want you to do it.’ For some reason, she seemed to ‘tolerate’ me more than most; and for Lettice to ‘tolerate’ you was as good as you got. She was a woman who did not tolerate fools gladly – in fact she did not tolerate them at all!
Thus ‘commanded’ I published her biography of the Duchess of Bedford ‘ Winged Odyssey’ and she arranged a book signing at Duke and Duchess of Bedford’s estate at Woburn Abbey to coincide with the annual Moth Club event. In these elegant surroundings she was engaged in conversation by one of the pilots who had flown his Tiger Moth into the small grass airstrip.
“It’s very tricky on finals here isn’t it”, he said, “not much room to get down. ”
Then he made his mistake by asking if she had ever landed there.
“Yes, many times – but I was flying Halifaxes – and the landing strip was much smaller then.”
With that, the Moth pilot was dismissed.
Lettice struck fear into anyone who picked up the phone – when she called there was never any doubt who was speaking, or that you would do exactly as she bid. So it was that I was ‘commanded’ to publish her autobiography. I made many visits to her bungalow near Reading while I tried to make sense of the box of papers, cuttings and photographs that constituted her manuscript. Among the photographs was a magnificent 10×8 of her standing next to a belly-landed Mosquito that appeared to have had a mishap after the undercarriage had been accidentally raised; so I asked Lettice what the story behind it was. She took the photograph, considered it for a while, then pronounced, “That never happened” and put it into a draw.

Below is a photo of Lettice signing copies of her autobiography several years ago.  The hardback edition sold out but we still have copies of the softback reprint, it really is a remarkable story of a pioneering woman in a male dominated industry.

Click on the photo for more details;

lettice curtis

Our telephones

As we are mainly a web based operation we don’t usually have people available to answer the phone at all times. In which case, if you have any urgent enquiries, please email me personally using mark@wingleader.co.uk and I’ll get a reply to you within 24 hours. I appreciate as we get nearer to Christmas everyone gets a bit panicky about delivery times so please use this method to make it easier for all of us!

As part of our continued expansion, from January 6th 2014, we’ll have a new phoneline set up which will be manned regularly from 9am – 5.30pm weekdays.