Extensive research delivers new biography
FROM THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN TO BOMBING HITLER’S BERCHTESGADEN
Authors: Fenella and Michael BAZIN
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (An imprint of Pen & Sword Books Ltd)
ISBN: 978 1 39906 690 7
The slightly clumsy title of this book gives just a clue as to the subject matter, which is a biography of Wing Commander James ‘Jim’ Bazin DSO DFC.
As with many families of the Few, the authors (the son and daughter-in-law of James Bazin) knew only a small amount about his war-time career. They only realised just how important his time in the RAF had been when they were listening to the eulogy at his funeral! The vicar seemed to have been able to have conversations that the family had been unable to sustain. They knew he had been a Battle of Britain pilot and had later taken part in the raids on the Tirpitz, but that was about it.
Some time later the authors set themselves the task of researching Bazin’s life, and the result is this book. For once Covid-19 was a help. By the time its effects were imposed on the population, the authors had amassed some useful information and were already in touch with historians, but they were able to undertake further research during the lockdowns.
What had originally been a project to record Bazin’s story for the family soon became a bigger project, and as the number of contacts increased and information was accrued, the scope of the story increased and the possibilities of a book emerged.
Their extensive research has allowed the authors to put together a fairly comprehensive account of Bazin’s life. His RAF career covered many and varied aspects of the roles available, ranging from flying in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain to becoming one of the first Fighter Controllers using radar and then back to flying - this time in Bomber Command.
The authors' family and other research has uncovered new insights into Bazin’s life and, in particular, the special bomber operations which were undertaken late in World War 2. The product of their work is a valuable and detailed addition to the history of the Royal Air Force.