Wellingborough woman finally completes book after 30 years - using nothing but pen and paper

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A Wellingborough woman who started writing a book 30 years ago has finally finished it – having written it all by hand.

Nina Britton-Boyle, 63, first began Blood on their Wing Tips 30 years ago after being inspired by stories from her father.

Ms Britton-Boyle used to live in South Ruislip near RAF Northolt where No. 303 Kościuszko Polish Squadron was based during the Battle of Britain.

And after visiting Polish war memorials and speaking to families of those involved, she decided to publish a true-life timeline of the squadron.

She said: “The role of the Polish in the war is quite overlooked. Without their pilots we may have lost the Battle of Britain.

“I interviewed as many relatives of the squadron as I could, putting adverts in Polish and smuggling letters to them when they were under Communist rule.

“I used to visit the war memorials and I wanted to do something for them as I don’t want them to be forgotten.”

The book combines the personal memoirs of surviving pilots written before Poland regained independence in 1989, letters from the families of those who gave their lives, and official combat records and war diaries.

The author’s story is made all the more remarkable as she has never visited Poland and painstakingly wrote the book by hand.

She added: “I wrote the main structure of the book about 20 years ago and nearly completed it.

“A publiisher put it on hold because of some of the bits about the Russians but I went to Bletchley Park and a volunteer there put me in touch with another publisher.

“I probably wrote more than 1,000 pages all by hand which my son typed up for me, which was made more difficult because of the glyphs in the names.

“I enjoyed it but it made me go a bit mad, and I think it made my son mad too.”

Ms Britton-Doyle would be forgiven for putting her pen away for a while – but her attention now turns to a fictional book about Native Indians, which she is hoping to complete having started it 10 years ago.

To buy Blood on their Wing Tips, click here.