A different viewpoint. First of all I have a confession to make – I am closely related to the author and the subjects in this book. That aside, I was expecting to find another WWII flying book a la Tuck, Malan, Johnson and others. The discovery of the letters written by Robbie from September 39 through to 1945 and VE Day changed all that. A whole lifetime suddenly took on a different perspective. That Black has toiled through 300+ letters and put flesh on the bones of logbook entries, as well as Ron’s spoken remembrance from the 1980s, was truly a labour of love. I can only add my encouragement to anybody who wants to know about two remarkable people and the strength they showed in a world that was changing before their eyes, to buy it’.
 
Social history and a tale of war wrapped up in a love story. There are books about war; there are books about a single person at war and there are social histories but this book pills them all together and adds the glue of a love story.
 
The author used letters written by his father (to his mother) and his knowledge of the Royal Air Force to bring a compelling tale of love; duty and derring do to life page after page.
Wrapping known historical facts up in the pages written by his father the author is able to transport us back to a different time – society was different and our hero sees no hardship in walking miles for a few hours in the company of his love.

Always unsaid it is obvious that Robbie needs his love / fiance / wife to keep him grounded and focussed during some pretty hairy experiences that must have been common place to him and his comrades.

I can’t recommend this book enough – whether you are an aviation nut; a social historian or just someone who likes a good read.
 
A special book . . .Air Marshal Black Robertson has written a most readable and touching account of his father, Robbie’s, wartime flying experiences and Robbie’s ever-enduring passion for the love of his life, Connie. It was this love for her and the joy of flying his Spitfire which kept Robbie going through some most difficult times.

These days were before the world of mobile phones and social media. Each of the characters in this book displays courage, faith, stoicism, persistence and humility, plus a good sense of humour! A great generation.

A fabulous account of wartime romance and service. In presenting this highly personal account of his parents’ blossoming relationship set against the backdrop of the Second World War, Air Marshal ‘Black’ Robertson has curated an astonishing collection of primary source material to which his expert fighter pilot eye has added professional accuracy and, as their son, filial colour to the narrative.
 

The principal source material contained in this absorbing account of a fledgling romance between the young RAF pilot Robbie Robertson and his girlfriend Connie (not to mention the Spitfire which bore her name) is the collection of hundreds of letters Robbie sent to Connie during the course of the War, and which she carefully preserved. Connie’s letters have been lost to history, but it is possible to infer her thoughts by the responses Robbie provides in his own correspondence.

A Spitfire Named Connie’ charts the odyssey navigated by the aspirant pilot waiting frustratedly for his call-up as the phoney war gave way to the full, awful reality in 1940, through his pilot training and into combat – first in the skies of Northwest Europe and later over North Africa. To the modern reader’s eye, the correspondence may seem rather reserved, but only slightly below the surface-level upbeat tenor of Robbie’s letters is an increasing level of anxiety as excitement gives way to the realities of war and his exposure to all of human nature’s triumphs and failings – including those exhibited by his various leaders. For Robbie, it is a passage from civilian innocence to one of hardened warrior, a journey on which Connie spiritually accompanies him despite, for much of the War, being physically separated. The catastrophic context of conflict in which their courtship blossomed must surely have been the catalyst for building the granite-like relationship they would share for the remainder of their lives. But such an outcome did not seem a foregone conclusion at first – in their early exchanges, Robbie seems to have taken a degree of delight in regaling Connie with tales of his flirtations with an impressive cast of young ladies. It isn’t absolutely clear whether this was a tactic designed to strengthen Connie’s enthusiasm, or simply plain old-fashioned showing off. Either way, Connie and Robbie clearly hit it off and the tone of the correspondence changes as Robbie, himself not young for a fighter pilot when judged against his peers, matures as the reality of combat and the loss of cherished colleagues hits home.

The boyish enthusiasm which is the hallmark of Robbie’s early wartime correspondence gives way to something more profound as his experiences force his psyche to adapt. His ultimate fate as a fighter pilot, sealed in the desert skies of North Africa leaves him severely wounded. All that he had sought to be – a fighter pilot – had come to brutal end, but one that had at least spared his life. Blinded in one eye, his war was at an end as an active participant, and although he clearly mourned the loss of his erstwhile comrades who met a worse fate than his, he was thankful and pragmatic enough to grasp with both hands the precious second major mission of his life – that of being a husband to Connie and father to his two sons.

This book is more than a collection of wartime correspondence between two young people caught in the maelstrom. Owing to the meticulous research conducted by the author, the threads of the story are tightly woven together, unearthing both British and German official records that substantiate and explain many of the stories related therein. Within those tales, we meet a cast a wartime household names, including the likes of Group Captain Brian Kingcome DSO DFC*, Wing Commander Bob Stanford-Tuck DSO DFC** AFC and Group Captain ‘Sailor’ Malan DSO* DFC* (whose younger brother, George, flew with Robbie on 72 Squadron and was ultimately to lose his life in early 1943, not long after Robbie’s own shooting down).

‘A Spitfire Names Connie’ is an intensely personal tale, but it adds vital first-hand evidence from those like Robbie who were at the vanguard of that generational fight against tyranny. Robbie’s and Connie’s contributions to that struggle may have been relatively minor in the context of the wider conflagration, but the relationship they forged can be considered to be a major private success and a genuine positive to emerge from the War. Despite his injuries, in later life Robbie seemed to be a contented man, free from some of the worst mental effects that so many struggled with for decades. Doubtless, he had taken solace in the fact that his elder son followed in his footsteps as a Royal Air Force fighter pilot, ultimately ascending the ranks to Air Marshal.

This book complements Black Robertson‘s earlier account of his and his father’s parallel careers, ‘Fighters in the Blood’, providing the personal hinterland that completes the outline jigsaw provided by the earlier account. It is a must read for all who seek to understand the unique pressures and commitment needed to form a lasting relationship in the crucible of the Second World War. It will long serve as a testament to that extraordinary generation of young men and women who gave everything to their country with little thought for themselves, except, perhaps to wish occasionally that they could somehow love each other for a lifetime, however long or short that might turn out to be.

An eagerly awaited follow up to Fighters in the Blood. Another compelling true story of a Spitfire pilot, who’s flying career was tragically cut short. Through his many very personal letters, It tells of his passion for flying and his endearing love of his sweetheart Connie. From young friend, to fiancé and wife, an unquestionable love that lasted a lifetime. This, like the authors previous book, it is much more than a book for aviation, or Spitfire enthusiasts.

It is a moving insight into the life of one of many, who courageously volunteered to serve their Country. What it takes to pursue the ambition of being a fighter pilot. The sacrifices made and the high price they paid for their service.

It is an enjoyable and compelling story, that will not leave you disappointed. Their are few, if any of these great men left, their story needs to be told. Enjoy!

Fascinating and moving read!  An absolutely wonderful book recounting the experiences of a genuine Spitfire ace in WWII by his son, Black, based on the many letters home to his girlfriend and future wife Connie. A captivating read that gives a unique insight into the war in the air.

A fascinating story of love and heroism. Following his earlier book ‘Fighters in the Blood’ , the author has captured a remarkable story of his father’s wartime heroism, together with extracts from letters to his sweetheart and then wife Connie. Whilst the first book portrayed elements of his father’s wartime experiences, this much more detailed account of the air war following the Battle of Britain is a remarkable account of the lives (and, unfortunately, deaths) of our fighter pilots. From boring days spent waiting for something to happen, to moments of high adrenaline action, the author takes the brief and somewhat laconic entries in his father’s logbook and, following what must have been significant research, provides the background and vivid detail that make this story compelling. On top of this we have the developing love story between the author’s parents, the strength of which survives the rigours of war and continues into old age.
 
I strongly recommend that you read this book.
 
A compelling account of war revealed through deeply personal correspondence. I was recommended this book by a friend and am very grateful for it.
 
This could have been a novel but is all the more engrossing for it being true. The story of a young man starting out in life with a job in the City and half an eye on an attractive young girl who is then then consumed by duty, and even the excitement, of WW2.
 
The maturing of the young pilot in terms of both his flying and his relationship with Connie, the young lady, is vividly realised by the actual correspondence between them and the narrative supplied by their son, the author. It brought home the tensions between living for the day and having a desire to plan a future.
 
I laughed out loud at some points where the experience of young people in love was shown to be no different in wartime to any other time and I genuinely felt the frustrations of them both in separation, their relief at survival and the simple pleasure of having a true life happy ending!
The detail of the correspondence from the humdrum details to the quiet passion gives a genuine insight into the nature of 2 lives at war and, I as I finished the book, I found I had grown rather fond of both Robbie and Connie.
 
A profoundly good read.
 

Another great book from Black Robertson. What a wonderful insight to a gentleman who fought for his Country. Such a personal account of his time in the Royal Air Force through his letters home to his ‘beloved Connie’ The author is able to give detailed accounts of his fathers war-time history, which keeps the reader engaged. Another fantastic book from the author, Black Robertson.