A Spitfire Named Connie

A Spitfire Named Connie is an exciting, rollercoaster of a story. ‘Robbie’ Robertson begins his RAF training during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. As he learns his trade, he’s soon rubbing shoulders with Fighter Command heroes. Amongst these are Brian Kingcome, ‘Ginger’ Lacey and Bob Stanford Tuck.

Moving from 111 to 72 Squadron, he opens his account against the Luftwaffe in the spring of 1942. Six months later the action moves to North Africa, where he adds further to his score. But it’s here that tragedy strikes. He’s shot down by Erich Rudorffer, one of the Luftwaffe’s most celebrated Experten, who ended the war with over 200 victories. Despite his wounds, and barely able to see, Robbie somehow survives his Spitfire’s crash-landing.

Found lying near the wreckage by an Army patrol, he moves from casualty clearing stations to hospitals across Tunisia and Algeria as doctors try desperately to save his sight. Finally, unable to stand the pain any longer, he reluctantly agrees to the removal of his right eye. A slow recovery and eventual return home is no compensation for the end of his flying career.

Desk-bound for the remainder of the war, the second, more poignant phase of his RAF life begins. The young schoolgirl, Connie Freeman, with whom he’s been in regular correspondence since her evacuation, becomes his wife.

It’s literally hundreds of Robbie’s letters that form the basis of this powerful and moving story. Together with his own and Connie’s diaries, correspondence from RAF colleagues and his flying logbook, they bring a unique authenticity to this highly-charged tale.