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First Light

Narrated by: Andrew Brooke
Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of First Light by Geoffrey Wellum, read by Andrew Brooke.

Two months before the outbreak of the Second World War, 18-year-old Geoffrey Wellum becomes a fighter pilot with the RAF.

Desperate to get in the air, he makes it through basic training to become the youngest Spitfire pilot in the prestigious 92 Squadron. Thrust into combat almost immediately, Wellum finds himself flying several sorties a day, caught up in terrifying dogfights with German Me 109s. 

Over the coming months he and his fellow pilots play a crucial role in the Battle of Britain. But of the friends that take to the air alongside Wellum, many never return.

©2018 Geoffrey Wellum (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

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So much more than a book about a fighter pilot

I lowered the speed so I wouldn't miss a word. It was much less bravado and much more human

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One of the best

I love memoirs in all wars, have listened to hundreds, this is right up there with the best.

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  • Mr. Graham J. Atkinson
  • 07-29-18

Brilliant.

I felt at times I was actually in the aircraft with Flight Leftenant Geoffrey Wellam DFC. A marvelous account of what it took to be a frontline fighter pilot. God bless you Geoffrey, and all of your mates, those who died in battle, and those who so sadly died protecting our country.
We all owe an immense debt of gratitude to you, and ALL the fighter pilots that protected our island, and indeed the many other countries and islands that relied on young brave men like yourself. I would dearly like to meet you, and. shake your hand Sir. You and your brave heroic friends are what kept the Great in Great Britain. I sincerely hope you are with us and enjoying a calm and peaceful life with your family and friends.
God bless you Geoffrey Wellam RAF DFC.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-02-18

Excellent

Un-put-downable. The narration is particularly good and goes very well with the evocative style of the author.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick
  • 07-26-18

Clear Skies, Mr Wellum, Clear Skies

Inspiring, Thought Provoking. One man's experience of war. No Jingoism, just truth and emotion. Beautiful.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris B
  • 08-25-18

Totally Humbling

An excellent narration of a story that i could not stop listening to. I don't tend to bother with audiobook reviews but not to make the effort after listening to this superb story just seemed wrong. I recommend to anyone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • B. A. Cawston
  • 08-30-19

First Light.

I don’t think that 5 stars is high enough praise for this book. 100 would not be enough either!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 12-12-18

Gripping account of being a Spitfire pilot in WWII

I could not stop listening to this gripping account of Mr Wellum's career in the RAF during the most critical time in its history. He takes us through flying school and is very honest about the challenges that brought him, and then straight into the Battle of Britain, flying sorties to clear the skies of enemy aircraft. His descriptions of the joy of flying such a beautiful machine are extremely vivid, as are the stories of flying right on the edge of his, and his aircraft's, abilities just to survive, at times.

I found it humbling to be reminded of the debt we owe to these young men who stood alone against Hitler and his war machine. I just cannot imagine how difficult it must be to make friends, only to see them fail to return from missions a few weeks or months later. I see that Squadron Leader Wellum passed away last summer after a long life. I hope he found contentment and peace; he, and his comrades, will always have my gratitude.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-18-20

Excellent

Excellent book that works very well in audio. Very moving at times with some harrowing events well told. What a hero, incredibly humble and everything you’d expect from of the few. Highly recommended.

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  • Dan
  • 01-12-20

Excellent

Fantastic account of what these young men endured, from training to the front line, great listen, highly recommended

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  • William
  • 01-01-20

Just excellent

I found this just excellent. It was very well written and read. At times it felt like being in the cockpit. It brought home what those very brave young pilots went through. Recommended.

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  • Blethers
  • 11-29-19

Let it open your eyes

Superb - once I started to listen I could not stop. Fantastic insight in to the emotional and factual life of a battle of britain fighter pilot. Try not to forget how old Geoffrey was.

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  • Richard O.
  • 04-22-19

A fighter pilot’s grand story

Most stories of flying and pilots are relatively engaging, but Geoffrey Wellum’s personal account of his achievements and survival as an RAF Spitfire pilot in WWII during the most perilous times of the air war and particularly during the Battle of Britain is exceptional and deeply personal. Flying along with Geoffrey was a privilege, and as a fighter pilot who flew aircraft far more sophisticated and complex than Spitfires decades later, I was humbled, enthralled, and deeply impressed by the unrelenting, visceral and existential nature of what this young man endured in those dark times.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-11-19

Great listen.

Enjoyed this audio very much. Quite a few humorous moments. Recognised many famous pilots from previous books.

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  • Tony Smithson
  • 10-17-18

Superb!!

Best narrator I have listened too. Fab story, what a life Geoffrey had, an inspiration to all