Each week, reporter and history-lover Mariana Dominguez visits a historical location on the South Shore or attends a local lecture on historical topics. This week, she met with Eric Forsyth, the author of two historical fiction novels that center around World War II, “Wings over Iraq” and “Wings over the Channel.” Forsyth is currently working on his third book in the trilogy, “Wings over Germany.”
Eric Forsyth, of Brookhaven, has lived an interesting and varied life. The 90-year-old from Lancashire County in northern England, is a former member of the Royal Air Force, retired worker at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and an avid sailor. In addition, Forsyth is an author of three books, the first titled “An Inexplicable Attraction: My Fifty Years of Ocean Sailing.” More recently, Forsyth has been working on a trilogy of books that follows a young RAF pilot named Allan Chadwick as he encounters different adventures during his time.
The books are historical fiction, with Forsyth using his own experience in the RAF after World War II, stories from people he knew, and history itself as references. The first title, “Wings Over Iraq,” follows Chadwick during the time when the RAF had just been created at the end of World War I in 1918. Forsyth explained that during this time, the Ottoman Empire had been broken up and England was given control of Iraq. The newly created RAF ran Iraq from the air. Forsyth said that he actually knew a man who had served in the RAF before World War II, and many of the events from the first novel are inspired by his stories. “Wings Over Iraq” took Forsyth a little over a year to write, and he then began working on the second book in the trilogy, “Wings Over the Channel.”
“Wings Over the Channel” follows Chadwick into World War II and places emphasis on radar and the way the use of the new technology made “one British fighter equal to two by removing the need for standing patrols.” England, which previously in history had been able to utilize the English Channel, was now vulnerable due to the onset of aircraft. A once impenetrable blockade, the English Channel could now be crossed by flight in mere minutes. In the preface to “Wings Over the Channel,” Forsyth writes, “The British put an immense effort into the development of a comprehensive radar defense which could warn of the approach of enemy planes anywhere along the coast.”
Forsyth is currently writing the final book in the trilogy, “Wings Over Germany.”
When asked how he chose what time period to write, Forsyth responded, “I grew up in World War II. I remember it quite distinctly. So, I thought a good subject for my fiction would be flying in that period of time.”
Forsyth recalled that as a young boy during World War II, he was taught how to make Molotov cocktails in school, and eventually the school was closed for a year due to the war.
“We were dangerous kids,” he said with a laugh.
“Wings Over Iraq” and “Wings Over the Channel” can be purchased on amazon.com. To learn more about Forsyth and his book, visit yachtfiona.com.