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Write Soon and Often cover

Book Details:
  • 234 pages
  • Black & White
  • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
Available Formats:
  • eBook (epub, mobi, pdf)
  • 978-1-4602-9396-6 eBook

bomber pilot, RCAF, coming of age story, family, WW II letters, Ridley College, Sudbury

Write Soon and Often
The Life of a Bomber Pilot Through His Letters Home by Andy Thomson

Travelling through Europe in the summer of 1939, 17-year-old Donald Plaunt witnessed preparations for war in every country he visited. After he completed high school in 1941, Donald became part of that war when he enlisted in the RCAF and became a Lancaster pilot. After training for 20 months, he flew in operations for five weeks before his death on his 11th mission in 1943.

There are many compelling stories written by veterans about Bomber Command. What makes this pilot's story unique is that it is told in his youthful voice selected from 150 letters he wrote home. Peppered with his amusing sense of humour, his letters convey a very personal and colourful narrative ranging from tales of his Air Force training, the events of the war, the people he cared about, and the issues that bothered him. It is a story about youth and hope as we follow his journey from a carefree and somewhat entitled rookie pilot to the generous and proud captain of a Lancaster crew. It is also a story of sorrow that explores the heartbreaking impact of his death on his family when he, like so many other young men, did not return home.

"I’ve read many WW 2 stories and would class this one as among the best in capturing the frustration and uncertainties involved by airmen. As I read through his story I was touched with its poignancy. The author’s choice of the letter material is telling for an old sweat like me. Such scenes as the inefficiency of the coal stove which spewed smoke and some heat into the sleep space of the Nissen hut reminded me of what I lived through. I was amazed at the flow of letters and goodies to Donald, when in my case, in nearly three years in the U.K., Malta and Italy, I think I only got cigarettes a couple of times from some kind source. The youth of these airmen comes through loud and clear. Your depth of research awes simple old me. A great read. Well done."

General Bill Carr, RCAF and former Spitfire pilot

Andy Thomson photo

Author: Andy Thomson is a retired secondary teacher who taught history in Toronto and at Lahr Senior School ( DND ) in Germany. His first book highlighted the history of Lake Pogamasing in Northern Ontario which closely mirrored the development of the Canadian wilderness from the 1870s to the present. (

Along with his letters and military records, the author has recreated his uncle’s life from interviews with his family, friends and comrades. Andy has visited his uncle’s memorials in Canada and England and his grave in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in Germany.


Andy Thomson

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