Battle of Britain's "book of heroes" goes on sale

Tue Aug 2, 2011 6:13am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A book of signatures of RAF flying officers who fought in the World War Two Battle of Britain -- described by Winston Churchill as "a book of heroes" -- goes on sale on Tuesday.

The book contains 107 signatures collected by a mess steward, Norman Phillips, in 1941.

The series of aircraft battles above the south of Britain took place between July and September 1940 and effectively saved the country from Nazi invasion.

Churchill referred to the book as "not a book of names, but a book of heroes. God forbid it should ever be lost."

Auctioneer Bonhams said the book's leather cover was apparently cut from a mess chair by Group Captain Douglas Bader whose remarkable story, flying again after losing both his legs, was the basis of the film "Reach for the Sky."

The autographs also include American volunteers, 71 American Eagle Squadron, and other Canadian, Australian, Polish, and Czech pilots, many of whom did not survive the war.

The book is expected to fetch up to 8,000 pounds ($13,000)

(Reporting by James Browning, editing by Paul Casciato)