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    Hi Matt,

    Appreciate your posts on KL654.
    What is your connection with this story? I am interested because I am the cousin of Flt Sgt Jack Blakey one of the crew. I was present at the recent funeral in Malaysia.

    Mick Blakey
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About Matt Poole

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About Matt Poole
I began my RAF Liberators-in-the-Far-East research in 1990. A family history project gone wild, and there's no end in sight.

AND NOW (with the imagined sound of blaring trumpets accompanying this self-promoting pronouncement...) as of November 2017, I have a book to my name. This Fonthill Media publication is entitled RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA, subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON, by Bill Kirkness DFM and myself. The hardcover edition is 224 pages, with fifty-three black-and-white photographs. If you are so inclined as to order a copy (hardcover or Kindle), please be mindful that the main title happens to be the subtitle of another Fonthill book, the excellent B-24 BRIDGE BUSTERS, by Colin Pateman. The wrong book could be erroneously ordered, if care is not taken.

I can guarantee that the reader of RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA will be educated on a variety of fascinating topics, including the big one -- the sorely-under-published theme of the air war over Japanese-held Burma (and a little bit in Siam).

Here is the book’s synopsis from the dust jacket:
British RAF wireless operator/air gunner Bill ‘Enoch’ Kirkness flew thirty-two B-24 Liberator bomber sorties, twenty-eight of which were against Japanese targets in Burma. He was credited with downing the night fighter that killed a crewmate and severely damaged his Liberator in April 1944. His aircraft’s crash-landing abruptly ended his first tour of operations. He was awarded a prestigious Distinguished Flying Medal for his heroism.

Bill’s memoir of Wellington ferry flights, Liberator training, and operations with 159 Squadron typifies aspects of the human spirit—including fear and anxiety, focused determination, numbing boredom, brotherly camaraderie, heart-wrenching anguish, amorous pursuits, and comic relief—which any young man immersed within such a conflict would have likely experienced. Bill wore his heart, not just his sergeant’s stripes, on his sleeve. Bill’s story is a compelling, dignified account of an average man’s war from 1942 to 1944 in the UK, the Mediterranean, Africa, and onward through his first operational tour based in India.

Matt Poole, an expert on 159 Squadron and RAF Liberator activities against the Japanese, seamlessly enhances Bill’s narrative with supporting historical detail. Although Bill passed away in 1994, Matt vowed to help bring the memoir to a wider audience.

I put my heart and soul into turning Bill’s raw manuscript into an impeccably accurate, detailed, descriptive, enlightening, and moving book about the experiences of an “everyman” from Horsforth, near Leeds. Obviously, I’m immensely proud of seeing Bill’s dream come to fruition with the release of his memoir. Alas, he died long before his book was finally published, but his family can, at last, revel in this small victory. Thanks, Bill – you were a great friend!

So, that’s the bit of self-promotional crowing to the world that I’ll do. Now, on to another topic...

To the lame-brained Burma Spitfire folks out there who can only pigeonhole others into one of two factions (yes, they are buried vs no way, Jose), I'll say I am NEITHER.

I see things in terms of POSSIBILITIES, not EXPECTATIONS. Possibilities, in this case, can be seen to defy logic, historical research, and common sense. The search for Burma Spitfires may prove to be an utterly doomed case of Snark hunting (and I hope no one disappears like one of the hunters in the original story), but -- who the bleep knows -- it may lead to proverbial gold at the end of the rainbow.

David Cundall has the balls to go for his prize and stick with it, astounding even his most bitter and frustrated critics.

The fun has only just begun...and it's not my money.

The spirit of adventure, involving many more than just Mr Cundall, is downright intriguing, but the Buried Burma Spitfires saga also reveals that competition and lust for fame and monetary rewards do lead humans astray, willingly. In particular, money talks and money corrupts, making some (only some) men choose paths, scrutinized by the public, that they later regret; at least two key players in the Buried Burma Spitfires circus even feared for their professional futures for a stretch. And rightly so. [UPDATE: that is, until the damning criticism of their work disappeared when the entire Buried Burma Spitfires thread on the Historic Aviation Forum was deleted.]

Buried Burma $pitfires!

And the BB$ project also highlights a fundamental flaw with very intelligent beings: only fools actually think they know it all. Despite a know-it-all's insistence to the contrary, his/her sh*t does stink, just like the rest of us. Arrogance among those with impressive résumés reveals incredible stupidity among those with impressive résumés. This also applies to forum readers who aren’t even paid a penny, but who take sides and keep their blinders on at all times.

Just to make it clear to those who yap about "the Cundall camp" as if I'm an enthusiastic member, I'll summarize my take on matters AGAIN:

Basically, Bubba, I don’t blindly believe in boasts of beautiful British-built birds being buried in boarded-up boxes bunched below baked Burma bases, or even just battered, beaten, bent, bashed, broken, bulldozed bits beneath bitumen…



GO, DAVID, GO!!!!!

And IF you are defeated, ultimately, then GO, BOULTBEE BROOKS, GO (though I don’t like what I’ve read about your tactics)!!! And IF you fail, then GO, ZIV, GO!!! Or GO, WARGAMING II, GO (if you jump on the bandwagon again with a fresh approach to imagery, and you steer clear of previously-overpaid [not THEIR fault!] archaeos & geophysicists)!!! Etc., etc., etc.

Ad nauseam on the Burma Spitfires forum today, ad museum tomorrow, for all we know. [UPDATE: The thread was removed by woosies who kowtowed to blowhards threatening legal action. It could have been left up, locked, but noooooooooooooooooo!!]
Maryland, USA
Now retired, I was a hush-hush "geospatial analyst" working for [redacted] in [redacted].


RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media


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