Book Review
Quietus Last Flight
Mar 22, 2021

Quietus Last Flight: Wartime Aviation Stories on the Canadian Home Front

Author: Anne Gafiuk
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: The Nanton Lancaster Society, 2020 (Second Edition)
Price: $35 GST included, 367 pages (purchase online here)
Reviewer: Ken Armstrong, retired RCAF pilot

My background as an RCAF pilot and accident reconstructionist piqued my curiosity about a book that details crashes, pilot error, maintenance issues and military misfortunes that claimed many airmen’s lives within Canada during WWII. 

The factual stories are quite unique because the author conducted intensive, broad spectrum research into the lives and activities of these flyers who gave their all for God and the monarchy. 

Anne Gafiuk’s examination of each airman’s pre-war lives and their conduct throughout training until plunging to their death during wartime operations exposes their humanity, their strengths and their failures. 

I can’t claim that I wasn’t able to put this book down.  In fact, there is so much emotion and sense of loss provided in the details of the accidents and investigations that readers will feel the deep pang of lives lost and the futility of war. This is a heartfelt read.  

Warning: parts of the RCAF accident investigators’ reports are quite graphic. The author deeply delved into archival details from many learned sources to allow us to live through these dangerous times wherein pilots and other aircrew had minimal training before pushing the limits during operational endangerment.

Many died during training. In fact, 6000 RAF airmen were lost during training in Bomber Command from 1943-1945 and 12% of the entire combative force would be killed in accidents. 

This book will give you a feeling of having flown during the war and is recommended for pilots from novices to high timers.

Book review by Ken Armstrong