Life in the air - as it happened

1211002 SSFF jack burgess 'Jack Burgess with his third book on Aviation Experiences - at home in Aboyne Gardens, Kirkcaldy
1211002 SSFF jack burgess 'Jack Burgess with his third book on Aviation Experiences - at home in Aboyne Gardens, Kirkcaldy

VIATION is not something most people have a good knowledge of, but for one Kirkcaldy man telling the stories of former World War II pilots has become a personal goal.

Jack Burgess, who was a Flight Engineer Second Pilot during the war, has just released his third collection of experiences from aircrew, covering everything from the dark days of the Second World War to more recent flight stories.

‘Sixty More Aviation Experiences’ is the third book in a trilogy which recounts the experiences of members of the Scottish Saltire Branch of the Aircrew Association - a personal quest Jack has undertaken in the past decade.

“It’s the old problem of never having been recorded properly,” he told the Press. “Historians decide to make all sorts of theories, so our intention was to get the eye witness accounts on to paper so they are not just tales or theories.

“I used to be shy about telling people some of my own experiences - people could never actually believe what you were saying - so I think after some people came forward it gave others confidence to tell their own stories about what they experienced.”

The idea for the books began when William Reid VC asked Jack, a former college lecturer, to document the story of how he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

“Bill said to me one day, sit down and don’t move until I give you my story,” Jack continued. “After he finished, I said ‘so that’s me done then’, and he replied ‘no, you have just started’. He told me to go and get as many stories as I could before they all fade away. I have now collected 209 experiences over the three books, so I think he would be quite proud.”

Jack’s hard work has meant all of these stories, from WWII aircrew to helicopter ditching more recently, have been documented. The book is available to buy at www.woodfieldpublishing.com.