By Eric Carter and Anthony Loveless
'It's so important to document that generation's experiences, and Eric still has a glint in his eye that makes me think he'd tell a good story.' - Dermot O'Leary
Second World War fighter pilot Eric Carter is one of only four surviving members of a secret mission, code-named 'Force Benedict'. Sanctioned by Winston Churchill in 1941, Force Benedict was dispatched to defend Murmansk, the USSR's only port not under Nazi occupation. If Murmansk fell, Soviet resistance against the Nazis would be hard to sustain and Hitler would be able to turn all his forces on Britain...
Force Benedict was under the command of New Zealand-born RAF Wing Commander Henry Neville Gynes Ramsbottom-Isherwood, who led two squadrons of Hurricane fighters, pilots and ground crew which were shipped to Russia in total secrecy on the first ever Arctic Convoy. They were told to defend Murmansk against the Germans 'at all costs'.
'We all reckoned the government thought we'd never survive' - but Eric Carter did, and was threatened with Court Martial if he talked about where he'd been or what he'd done. Now he reveals his experiences of seventy years ago in the hell on earth that was Murmansk, the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. It will also include previously unseen photos and documents, as well as exploring - for the first time - other intriguing aspects of Force Benedict.
Following Eric Carter's role in the defence of Murmansk, he also saw service defending the skies over England and, towards the end of the war, in India and Burma fighting against the Japanese. After World War II, Eric forged a successful career in electrical engineering and continued to fly as a private pilot.
Most recently, he was awarded the Arctic Star following a long-fought campaign for a medal to recognise those who risked their lives in the Arctic during World War II.
Antony Loveless is an author and journalist specialising in aviation and defence matters. He was Bureau Chief in Baghdad for the London Press Service during the second Iraq war and since then has worked on RAF projects in the UK and Afghanistan. His previous books include SWEATING THE METAL and THE RAF TYPHOON MANUAL. He lives in Belfast.
- Other details
- Publication date:
10 Apr 2014
- Page count:
Hodder & Stoughton
A gripping tale about the British airmen who helped to turn the tide against the Nazis on the Eastern Front. — Daily Express