• The Silver Spitfire

  • The Legendary WWII RAF Fighter Pilot in His Own Words
  • By: Tom Neil
  • Narrated by: Roger Davis
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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The Silver Spitfire

By: Tom Neil
Narrated by: Roger Davis
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Publisher's Summary

A brilliantly vivid Second World War memoir by one of 'the Few' Spitfire fighter pilots. 

Following the D-Day landings, Battle of Britain hero Tom Neil was assigned as an RAF liaison to an American fighter squadron. 

As the Allies pushed east, Neil commandeered an abandoned Spitfire as his own personal aeroplane. Erasing any evidence of its provenance and stripping it down to bare metal, it became the RAF's only silver Spitfire.   

Alongside his US comrades, he took the silver Spitfire into battle until, with the war's end, he was forced to make a difficult decision. Faced with too many questions about the mysterious rogue fighter, he contemplated increasingly desperate measures to offload it, including bailing out mid-Channel. 

He eventually left the Spitfire at Worthy Down, never to be seen again.  

The Silver Spitfire is the firsthand, gripping story of Neil's heroic experience as an RAF fighter pilot and his reminiscences with his very own personal Spitfire.

©2019 Wg Cdr Tom Neil (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about The Silver Spitfire

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Why did I waste my time?

Have you ever been cornered at Thanksgiving by your 91 year old great grandfather who rambled on and on and on about his experiences in WORLD WAR II as a British FIGHTER PILOT flying a SPITFIRE and 6 hours later he never mentions ONE dogfight or even firing his machine guns even though he was a squadron leader and flew in the Battle of Britain but all he talks about is flying around in an abandoned Spitfire and drunkenly crashing his car (twice) and how he met all of these various officers who (very important to note) wore their caps rakishly and flew several different types of aircraft but you couldn’t care less, but you don’t want to be rude so you let him ramble on until he slowly drifts off into an afternoon nap (finally!) and you let out a huge sigh of relief that this ordeal is over and you can get back to your life?
Yeah, it is exactly like that.

1 person found this helpful

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Rambling

I really wanted to love this book. These stories are always so riveting. Well this one leaves a little to be desired. It's nothing against the author, who passed away in 2018, and must have penned this book in 2013. So that means he must have been rather advanced in age. So with that, this book wanders around and about and the reader isn't completely sure where each chapter is going. In fact, there's as much non-war related musings as anything to do with his extraordinary RAF career. Some have absolutely nothing to do with a memoir at all, but just general thoughts. Tom Neil was and is a legend. So this is nothing to take away from his career or accomplishments. Also, Roger Davis is spectacular. He's one of the best in the business, and he elevates as he does everything he narrates.

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Good Story, But Little Action

This is a thoroughly enjoyable memoir of one part of pilot Tom Neil's long life; specifically, when he was appointed as an RAF liaison officer to the U.S. Ninth Air Force's 100th Fighter Wing. Most of the story focuses on Neil's non-combat experiences and adventures with Americans, who Neil finds alternatively admirable, amusing, and sometimes a little disgusting. Despite a few close calls (not from combat), most of Neil's experiences in this part of his life seem to have been enjoyable.

The Silver Spitfire doesn't make an appearance until relatively late in the book, and it is an interesting story, but it really is not the focus of the book. Neil did not go into combat in that plane. Neil's combat experience--which was very extensive--all predated this book.

If you know what the book covers, and adjust your expectations accordingly, I think you will enjoy it.

The narration ranges from really good--when the narrator is speaking for Neil--to jarringly bad--when the narrator (eminently British) tries to imitate an American accent. Many of Neil's American friends were from the South, and Neil often notes that they spoke in a very southern accent. For this narrator, EVERY American accent comes out as a fairly bad imitation of a Brooklyn accent. To say that he cannot do a southern accent is an understatement. Pretty irritating to this American listener.

Then again, I imagine American narrators regularly butcher British accents to the British ear!

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  • MR ADRIAN M EASTON
  • 12-28-19

A really interesting book, and very well read by the narrator

Fascinating, engaging and most importantly, factual. Tom Neil shares some his fascinating memories with the reader and they don’t disappoint! Set circa 1943 - 1945, Wing Commander Tom Neil provides a great insight into his RAF and USAAF days, and even though the Silver Spitfire comes into the book late, it’s still a very entertaining and rather sobering read all the way through.

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  • Philip
  • 10-15-20

Charming and Interesting

As the book unfolded, I came to appreciate and like the man behind the story as a genuine decent chap. His wartime experiences were so diverse that it’s a fascinating record of the time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Garsham Robertson
  • 05-22-22

Odd title

I enjoyed this book but.... Silver Spitfire isn't mentioned until ⅔ of way through

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  • Jon
  • 11-10-21

excellent

so very British. a great listen / read. a wonderful quirky storey about a great pilot and a fantastic spitfire. well read. well worth a listen

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  • andy
  • 10-20-20

interesting but not exciting

this book could be titled 'a list of planes I've flown - by an english prude'
you don't catch a glimpse of the enemy in this whole book.
well written and very well read.

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  • scrappy coco
  • 09-27-20

A superb autobiography of a great man

Tom Neil has written a couple of books, this being the second and previous takes you through 1939/40 and Battle of Britain .

this book i nearly overlooked due to its title and appent focus on the 'silver spit' i do like a good pilot's bio from this era. this book doesn't disappointed at all, infact its well worth listening to or reading. it's good, its not focused on a silver spit but Tom's life 1942/3-1945 and very interesting anecdotes that are funny, sad, informative and well written. it's very well narrated too.

reccomend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-03-20

Not much action.

This tells the story of a prior RAAF Ace, who was assigned to a US squadron as a liaison officer. He mainly just flew around on his own non-war related issues, occasionally seeing some of the devastation of the final months of the war on the western front, but not taking part in any of it. Some interesting stories here and there, but disappointing in terms of action stories.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stephen Simpson
  • 10-27-21

What a great story!

I have heard of the silver spit before and was intrigued about the whole story. This book did not disappoint. Very well read as well. I was taken there!

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  • Dr. Eric Thevathasan
  • 10-20-21

Interesting And Droll

An interesting wartime story based on an obviously flawed memory written as it was many decades after the war. Exaggerated English drollness was often very amusing but sometimes irritating but did show another side of the conflict from a person of privilege. Overpaid Over sexed and Over here

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-27-20

The Silver Spitfire. A great account.

if you're after a thrill a minute account of battles this is not your book.
if you're after a great account of a man's life in WW2 then this is it. Great stories and descriptions of many aircraft and people.
I loved it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-12-20

Fabulous story

Narration is somewhat monotone but the story speaks for itself. The detail of the Authors memory is astounding.

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  • Scott
  • 01-23-20

A story about a likable character in WW2

This is a good read by a very likable and interesting author about his days serving as an RAF pilot in WW2.

Overall, the author is a good story teller, but does get bogged down in detail sometimes.

Based on the title, I was expecting an action packed book about a spitfire, and instead received a pleasant story about what this nice chap had for lunch each day during the war.

It's still a very good and worthwhile read. Its a day-in-the-life first-person narrative, which I must admit, I did ultimately enjoy all the same.