A Thunder Bird in Bomber Command

The Wartime Letters and Story of Lionel Andreson, the Man Who Inspired the Thunderbirds Legend

Sean Feast

The Wartime Letters and Story of Lionel Anderson, the Man Who Inspired a Legend
Publication date:
May 2015
Publisher :
Fighting High Publishing
Illustration :
30 black and white photographs
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9780992620776

Dimensions : 234 X 156 mm
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• Thunderbird character Scott Tracy is quite clearly modelled on Lionel Anderson, the subject of the book.Lionel Anderson's brother - Gerry was the creator of the Thunderbird's TV show.The Foreword for the book is written by Shane Rimmer - the voice of Sc

Shot down and killed in April 1944, Lionel Anderson, a low flying Mosquito intruder pilot, was part way through his second tour of operations. He had survived his first tour stooging up and down the French coast in an outdated Boulton Paul Defiant to confound the German night fighter defences and allow the Royal Air Force bombers a free run to the target. Lionel's journey to war had been one of enormous excitement, most of which had been spent training in the sunshine and mountains of Arizona, flying during the day and partying hard at the weekends.

A prolific letter writer, Lionel continually regaled his parents with tales of cowboys and indians, rattlesnakes and spiders, ground loops and near misses. He also talked of his Hollywood connections, his new ‘pals' Preston Foster and Gene Tierney, and a movie in which he had ‘starred' as an ‘extra'.

In A Thunder Bird in Bomber Command, acclaimed military aviation historian Sean Feast pieces together Lionel's story revealing a young man dearly loved by his mother and father. He was similarly worshipped by his younger brother, Gerald, who would go on to become a world renowned television producer, director, and writer. It was Lionel's connection with a little-known film that was to inspire Gerry Anderson to create a global phenomena - the legend of Thunderbirds.


There is a lot to like here, the air war stuff offers something a bit different from the norm and, all in all, the book is enhanced by the strong reliance on the US connection. Good stuff.
War History Online

A really interesting story on many counts, not only for the description of the training of RAF pilots in America during WW2, but of the life of an operational pilot flying older aircraft on less glamorous but equally important electronic warfare missions
Military Model Scene

It rattles along nicely, you get to know Lionel and then a rare operational account smacks you in the face. It is a rare treat.
Flightpath Magazine

Overall, as with many books of this type, this is a fascinating insight into life in the RAF. It is made all the more interesting given the links between Lionel Anderson and his younger brother's later work.
Thoughts on Military History

A Thunder Bird In Bomber Command isn't just deeply moving, it's also a superb piece of social history
History of War Magazine