Gone the Dark Night.
The story of New Zealand’s first Night Fighter Squadron.
Written by Graham Clayton and published by Bomber Command Books, this paperback also contains a variety of black and white photos.
In 2008 Graham Clayton published Last Stand in Singapore: The Story of 488 Squadron RNZAF. After the fall of Singapore, the squadron was disbanded, then subsequently reformed in the UK in June 1942 as an RAF unit, 488 (New Zealand) Squadron. Its role was to take on the German Luftwaffe in the night skies over the UK and Europe. Gone the Dark Night is the long-awaited sequel and completes the wartime history of 488 Squadron.
The aircraft and equipment were rudimentary, and a huge effort was made to develop night fighting defences that might defeat the Luftwaffe bombers in the air. Success was to be a long time in coming. Initially equipped with the Bristol Beaufighter, the unit was later supplied with the night fighter variant of the iconic de Havilland Mosquito.
The crews, mostly young New Zealanders, were at the forefront of a struggle against seemingly impossible odds. From the early days they struggled to survive not only eneny attacks but also the dangers of flying at night in adverse weather conditions. At the same time, they had to become proficient with new technology that seemed to change on a weekly basis.
Teamwork was vital to the success of each operation and to ensure their own survival in the night skies. This was an occupation fraught with continuous danger; the hunter could quickly become the hunted, and the possibility of being shot down by your own side was also very real. These young men showed a determination that ultimately gained them success and victory in Europe.
Their pathway to victory was paved with a life and death struggle to gain ascendancy over a skillful and wily enemy, and much personal tragedy was encountered on the way. After half a century after they played such a large part in defeating Luftwaffe menace, their heroism is still an example to us all.