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Book Review – Mosquito Night Intruder Ace by Danny Burt

Wing Commander Bertie Rex O’Bryen Hoare DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar

Whats it about?

Bertie Rex O’Bryen Hoare was born on 6 June 1912. Having been educated at Harrow & Wye Agricultural College, ‘Sammy’, as he was often known to friends & family, entered the RAF on a short-service commission in 1936.

In October 1938, whilst piloting a Fairey Battle, Bertie sustained a serious injury from a piece of loose aircraft cowling. This incident resulted in him being totally blinded in one eye. Though he was initially grounded, his determination to return to the air never diminished. The outbreak of war in September 1939 saw his wish be granted when Bertie was given permission to return to operational flying duties.

Bertie was posted to 23 Squadron, which was flying Blenheims at the time. The squadron then converted to Havocs; the crews being tasked with undertaking night-time operations over Occupied Europe. Despite his restricted night vision & depth perception, Bertie went on to became one of the RAF’s leading advocates in the art of what was known as ‘intruder operations’.

In the months & years that followed, Bertie served in & then commanded, a number of RAF squadrons. By the time the war in Europe came to an end he was the Station Commander at RAF Little Snoring in Norfolk – which, at the time, was home to de Havilland Mosquitos undertaking intruder operations.

Bertie opted to remain in the RAF after the war, this time being posted to 84 Squadron. However, his luck finally ran out on 26 March 1947, when the Mosquito he was ferrying to Australia crashed off its northern coast. With Bertie reported missing at the time, Danny Burt reveals the full circumstances of this tragic incident.

This is the biography of one of the RAF’s greatest characters of the Second World War. With his ‘epic’ over-sized moustache, Bertie Hoare was a pilot who had risen to the rank of Group Captain, been awarded the Distinguished Service Order & Bar, the Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar & been Mentioned in Despatches. Bertie ended the war having flown over 100 combat sorties.

Our Review

In this book Danny Burt, an Army Veteran himself tells the story of Wing Commander Bertie Rex O’Bryen Hoare DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar also known as ‘Sammy’ or ‘Rex’.  

Bertie’s career started with a short-term commission with the RAF in 1936.   Sadly, early on in his career he was involved in an aircraft crash which saw him lose one eye, you would think that his career as a pilot would have been over but he would go on to fly again & became an amazing pilot who would rise up through the ranks serving with a number of Squadrons during his service.

Whilst serving with Bomber Command he took part in night time operations attacking German Airfields whilst back home the Battle of Britain raged on.  He flew Fairey Battle, Blenheims, Boston & Havoc Aircraft with 207 Squadron, before transferring to 23 Squadron where as flight commander, he would command the squadron which moved to 100 Group in 1943.

His squadron took part in operations in support of the D-Day Landings by attacking Luftwaffe bases & attacking enemy aircraft.

Bertie chose to continue with his RAF Service post WW2.  Whilst serving with 84 Squadron he would sadly lose his life on the 26th March 1947 when the Mosquito aircraft he was flying suffered Radio failure during a ferrying trip for the RNZAF.

Bertie had met his WAAF wife whilst serving at RAF Little Snoring, tragically his young Daughter would not get to meet her father.

During his career Bertie rose to the rank of Group Captain was awarded the DSO & Bar, the DFC & Bar & was Mentioned in Despatches. 

I really enjoyed this book….it is jam packed full of really interesting photographs & newspaper articles that not only tell Berties story but many of those he served with.

You can purchase the book from Pen & Sword books via the following link 


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