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A Thunder Bird at Bomber Command – out now!

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In the 50th anniversary year of the first broadcast of Gerry Anderson’s legendary Thunderbirds, a new book presents the story of his older brother Lionel, a Bomber Command pilot who proved the inspiration for so many of Gerry’s heroic creations.

Shot down and killed in April 1944, Lionel Anderson, a low flying Mosquito intruder pilot, was part way through his second tour of operations. A prolific letter writer, Lionel continually regaled his parents with tales of his exploits and his Hollywood connections, his new ‘pals’ Preston Foster and Gene Tierney, and a movie in which he had ‘starred’ as an ‘extra’. Military aviation historian Sean Feast pieces together Lionel’s story revealing a young man dearly loved by his parents, and his younger brother, Gerald, who would go on to become a world renowned television producer, director, and writer. It was Lionel’s connection with a little-known film that was to inspire Gerry Anderson to create a global phenomena – the legend of Thunderbirds.

The foreword of the book is written by Canadian actor Shane Rimmer who was the voice of the original Scott Tracy. ‘All kinds of speculation and theories were offered as to what fuelled Gerry’s mighty determination. The inspiration was direct and personal – from his elder brother Lionel who had given up his life as a pilot during the Second World War.’

Gerry Anderson’s son, and Lionel’s nephew, Jamie Anderson said, ‘Every one of Dad’s TV shows has a hero character – and that was Lionel every time.’

Author Sean Feast utilised the wealth of correspondence between Lionel and his parents to bring his story to life. ‘Piecing together his letters and matching them to his experiences while training in the US and operating over the Channel was a true journey of discovery, highlighting the very brave work of a largely unknown part of the Second World War bombing campaign. It has been a privilege to be able to bring Lionel’s story to life, and place his achievements in the context of the final victory in Europe.

Shane Rimmer, Jamie Anderson, Sean Feast, and Bomber Command Mosquito veterans Ken Oatley and George Dunn DFC recently met for the publication launch of the book, held at the Bomber Command Memorial in London. The memorial, which was unveiled by the Queen in June 2012, commemorates the sacrifice of men like Lionel – one of 55,573 Bomber Command lives lost during the Second World War.

A Thunder Bird in Bomber Command is on general release and available through online and high street retailers or it can be bought direct via Fighting High Publishing, www.fightinghigh.com. Tel. 01763 802018

Contact Details: For further details, requests for interviews, or access to photographs, please contact Steve Darlow, Fighting High Publishing.

e-mail:fightinghigh@btinternet.com, website: www.fightinghigh.com Tel. +44 (0)1462 734732

Review copies: If you would like a review copy please contact Andrew Christie, Marketing Executive, Casemate UK, Casemate Group, 10 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford OX1 2EW

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 241249, andrew.christie@casematepublishers.co.uk

Full book description

Shot down and killed in April 1944, Lionel Anderson, a low flying Mosquito intruder pilot, was part way through his second tour of operations. He had survived his first tour stooging up and down the French coast in an outdated Boulton Paul Defiant to confound the German night fighter defences and allow the Royal Air Force bombers a free run to the target. Lionel’s journey to war had been one of enormous excitement, most of which had been spent training in the sunshine and mountains of Arizona, flying during the day and partying hard at the weekends.

A prolific letter writer, Lionel continually regaled his parents with tales of cowboys and indians, rattlesnakes and spiders, ground loops and near misses. He also talked of his Hollywood connections, his new ‘pals’ Preston Foster and Gene Tierney, and a movie in which he had ‘starred’ as an ‘extra’.

In A Thunder Bird in Bomber Command, acclaimed military aviation historian Sean Feast pieces together Lionel’s story revealing a young man dearly loved by his mother and father. He was similarly worshipped by his younger brother, Gerald, who would go on to become a world renowned television producer, director, and writer. It was Lionel’s connection with a little-known film that was to inspire Gerry Anderson to create a global phenomena – the legend of Thunderbirds.

Book Details: Hardback – 200pp – 234 x 156mm. Approx 30 black and white photographs. World Rights – Fighting High Ltd. ISBN – 978-0-9926207-7-6. RRP – £19.95

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