Glider Pilots in Sicily by Mike Peters

gliderFifteen years before my birth, in the events described in Mike Peters’ Glider Pilots in Sicily, my cousin died.

He was a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, travelling in a glider taking troops to the first stage of the allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943

During the night approach to the designated landing zone near Syracuse, the tow-plane pilots panicked and released the glider too far from land. His glider was one of 69 out of 144 gliders to crash into the sea. More than two hundred and fifty crew drowned.

This book starts with the inadequate planning, training and deployment of the forces involved with Glider operations related to the early days of the invasion of Sicily, showing the inevitability of the disastrous outcome.

And yet, despite the disastrous start, the invasion as a whole succeeded.

Peters takes the reader through each stage of the glider operation as a whole, providing individual stories of participants to show the stories human cost. While my cousin’s individual story isn’t given here, the book reveals the general circumstances experienced by him and the other participants.