Eric P. Donald Releases MOONLIGHT OVER ENGLAND Hoping to Solve Mystery of Brother's Death
Author Eric P. Donald recently came across an old photo of his late brother, Norman G. Donald, a night fighter pilot as well as a test pilot for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Norman was posted to RAF Hunsdon just north of London in 1942. He was soon flying Douglas Havocs and Bristol Beaufighters. However, he and his flight crew were killed in an unsolved Albemarle aircraft crash near Purton on the Bristol Channel, Trafalgar Day, of October 21st 1943.Because Norman never came back home, the author had recurring dreams of his brother's return asking him where he has been all this time.
In his book titled Moonlight Over England The Story of One Night-Fighter Pilot, the author attempts to solve the many mysteries involved over the death of Norman G. Donald. His brother was the only member of the Royal Air Force aboard the Albermarle aircraft. His observer was a civilian, Mr. T. Tims, the two passengers were Air Training Corps Cadets namely, Mr. J. Charlton and Mr. L. White. The author was able to secure vital information about his brother's death from all possible sources but what caused the Albermale aircraft to crash remains a mystery to him.
In the course of the Second World War, huge amount of ingenuity were expended on devising new weapons. But not all the ideas that got off the drawing board were well thought through. One of these questionable ideas for aerial combat is the Turbinlite device which was fitted to the Beaufighters and Havocs. Norman and his squadron flew by moonlight and were involved in the Turbinlite trials.
As the Turbinlite device trials ended, Norman was posted to Filton where he tested, and in some cases delivered, Beaufighters, Bisleys, Blenheims, and Albemarles aircraft. The Albemarle was the first tricycle undercarriage British aircraft that was made mainly of plywood and steel tube parts by many furnishing companies all over England. Half Bristol Blenheim and half Armstrong Whitley bomber in design, it was not a star performer, but a contract had been signed to build six hundred of it. The Red Air Force of Russia also bought some of these aircraft to obtain better engine data, and it was Norman's job to test and deliver them to Erroll in Scotland, where training in their use was arranged and from where they were flown to Russia. While in Erroll, he also befriended Paul Yakimov, a Russian airman of the Red Air Force.