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‘Finest hour’ inspiration for novel

‘OUR country’s finest hour’ is the inspiration for a new book, penned by a local author.

‘OUR country’s finest hour’ is the inspiration for a new book, penned by a local author.

The Scarlet Splendour is the third novel from Helen Burton, and is set during the Battle of Britain.

Sixty-eight-year-old Helen has been working on the plot for a while, and decided that the 70th anniversary was the perfect time to publish the book.

“I was brought up hearing stories about the air force – my grandfather served with the Royal Flying Corp during the first war.

“There was another book I was working on, but I put that aside, and decided now was the best time to tell this story.”

Helen did hours of research into the few months when less than 2000 planes had to defend Britain from heavy German bombardment.

“There’s not many people who were actually there these days, so the best way of understanding what happened is to read what the pilots said.

“I don’t fly too much myself, because I get air sick, but I also went to Elmdon Airbase a few years ago, and went up in a small aircraft.

“That gave me an idea of what it was like – not fighting obviously – but being up there and experiencing the G Force.”

And her research gave Helen, a former school secretary, new admiration for “the few” who took part in the battle.

“I don’t think people appreciate what hard work it was on the body – being thrown around in the aircraft, and not having much oxygen.

“They used to pick young men, because they were keen, and perhaps didn’t realise quite what they were letting themselves in for.”

The Scarlet Splendour focuses on the fateful summer of 1940, but there is also a supernatural element, and flash-forwards to a few decades later.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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