heroes_have_wingsHeroes Have Wings

by Peter Firkins

ISBN 0 85905 179 X, (1993 new), Soft Cover, 226pp, illustrated, 300grams

$30.00 + POST

Heroes Have Wings relates the stories of Royal Australian Air Force aces in the great air battles of World War II, most told for the first time.  The author is one of Australia’s best-known military historians.

From a review by Emeritus Professor A.M. Kerr:-

"Peter Firkins is an experienced writer who has already had several books on aviation history published. I found it difficult to put "Heroes Have Wings" down; its tales of courage and heroism and documentation of triumphs and defeats are presented with convincing reality and with candour and sympathy. He has produced a fine account of operations of the RAAF ranging over all geographic theatres of war and all types of command structure (Fighter, Bomber, Coastal). I am not aware of any other publication, official or otherwise, that deals with the subject in the same way or with such convincing reality. Most of the official histories, to date have been rather antiseptic in their treatment. One of the strengths of the book is the author's descriptions of the personal thoughts and feelings expressed by the flyers themselves, before, during and after action in which they took part.

In addition, the book is lifted from being simply a recital of episodes of gallantry in the lives of young flyers by the addition of the author's commentary on tactics and strategy and command decisions as a backdrop to and a means of understanding the action situations themselves. The author, on occasions, is not hesitant to offer his own opinion about the wisdom of the decisions so made.

The result is a book which combines narrative with analysis to produce a work which in my view, admirably achieves the authors objectives - to chronicle the contributions made by Australian flyers to the air offensive of the Allies in World War II.


Peter Firkins is a West Australian who served in the RAAF during World War II as a member of RAF Bomber Command.  Since then he has become prominent in business and the community as well as being a prolific author on Australians at War.  He lists his main interests as cricket, tennis and national affairs.  He is married with three daughters.