Gladiator Ace: Bill 'Cherry' Vale, the RAF's Forgotten Fighter Ace

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9781844256570: Gladiator Ace: Bill 'Cherry' Vale, the RAF's Forgotten Fighter Ace
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Brian Cull’s careful research provides a rare and unique insight into a forgotten RAF fighter ace: Squadron Leader Bill ‘Cherry’ Vale DFC, AFC (1914–81). Vale was one of the RAF’s top ten fighter aces of the Second World War, but surprisingly there is no published biography about him. He fought the Luftwaffe and the Regia Aeronautica in the Western Desert and Greece in 1940, flying antiquated Gloster Gladiator biplane fighters, then in Crete flying Hawker Hurricanes against the Germans, and latterly in Egypt against Vichy French forces in Syria. Vale’s final score was 30 kills plus three shared.

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About the Author:

Brian Cull has written and co-authored more than 20 books on the air war of 1939–45. He lives in Suffolk, England.

Review:

WWII History magazine
"Born of military roots, his father a retired Royal Marine sergeant major, William Vale, or Cherry to his fellow Royal Air Force pilots, had an extraordinary record in World War II. When the conflict erupted in 1939, he was dispatched to Egypt and became involved in aerial combat flying a Gloster Gladiator, the RAF’s last biplane fighter aircraft.

"While a member of No. 80 Squadron, Vale downed 10 enemy planes from July 1940 until February 1941. His aerial skills served him well over Crete, the Balkans, and in the skies over Syria, battling the Vichy French. In just a three-month span in early 1941, Vale also had another 20 kills while piloting the Hawker Hurricane, a single-seat fighter plane used extensively by the Royal Air Force. For his heroic actions, Vale was presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross. Tragically, he was killed in an automobile accident in November 1981.

"The author has done a meticulous job of tracing Vale’s early life and entry into the RAF. Cull’s account of Vale’s life adds much to the history of the Mediterranean air campaign during World War II."

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