Today’s publication of the reprinted edition of my biography of the RAF’s greatest night intruder

The Czech Karel Kuttelwascher was the Royal Air Force’s greatest night intruder ace in World War Two. In all, he shot down 18 German aircraft – 15 bombers and 3 fighters – and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross twice in 42 days.

I wrote his biography under the title “Night Hawk” which was published in 1985. The book was printed in a Czech edition in 1993.  Today a reprinted British edition comes out under the imprint of Fonthill Media.

Essentially the 2017 work is the same as the 1985 one, but there are a series of  improvments:

  • Small typographical mistakes or factual errors have been corrected.
  • There is an additional introduction which you can read below.
  • There are three additional bits of material from wartime sources.
  • There are more photographs – 67 instead of 49 – and the quality of photographs is better.

You can learn more about the new edition and how to order it here.

You can learn more about Karel Kuttelwascher and “Night Hawk” here.


Introduction To British Reprinted 

Edition Of “Night Hawk”

When “Night Hawk” was published in 1985, I really thought that was the end of the story. But, over the next three decades, time and again something happened to revisit and revive the story.

Here in Britain, Karel Kuttelwascher’s name was included as one of ‘The Few’ on the Battle of Britain memorials erected at Capel-le-Ferne on the Kent coast (1993) and on the Victoria Embankment in London (2005). Television producer Peter Williams made a series called “Love And War” and one of the six programmes was devoted entirely to Kut’s wartime exploits and marriage. The programme has subsequently been rebroadcast many times.

In 2005, the Royal Air Force’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, based at Coningsby in Lincolnshire, England, painted its Hawker Hurricane IIC PZ865 in the colour scheme of BE581 ‘Night Reaper’. The scheme included 11 swastika kill markings under the cockpit sill on the port side (as seen in a contemporary newspaper photograph) as BE581 might have appeared the morning after Kut’s triple kill on 5 May 1942. The BBMF aircraft wore this scheme for the next few years as it performed at air displays around the country.

Meanwhile there was a ‘velvet revolution’ in Czechoslovakia which resulted in the overthrow of communism in 1989 and then a ‘velvet separation’ when the country was divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. The arrival of democracy led to a great interest in the role of Czechoslovaks who fought with the Western allies in World War Two and “Night Hawk” was published in Czech in 1993. Whereas 3,000 copies of the English edition were published, 15,000 copies of the Czech edition were printed.

The then Czechoslovak President Václav Havel posthumously promoted Karel Kuttelwascher to Brigadier General in 2000 and the current Czech President Miloš Zeman posthumously gave him the White Lion – the country’s highest award – in 2016. In Kut’s birthplace of Svatý Kříž, a large memorial was constructed.

Kut would be amazed by the interest that continues to be shown in his story some three quarters of a century after his exploits, but it is quite a story as you will now discover.

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