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The late Peter Firkins was a West Australian who enlisted in the RAAF at the age of 17 and completed a tour of operations with No. 460 Squadron RAAF.

Since the war he has been prominent in community, business, and literary activities, and is still active as a company director on a number of Boards.

Married with three daughters and eight grandchildren, he lists his main interests as national affairs, writing, tennis, cricket and hobby farming.

Peter Firkins has written a number of books over the years including the following:-

"The Australians in Nine Years" "Of Nautilus and Eagles"
"From Hell to Eternity" "The Golden Eagles"
"Strike and Return"  


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212 pages, Soft Cover

From a review by Emeritus Professor A.M. Kerr:-

"Peter Firkins is an experienced writer who has already had several books on aviation history published. I found it difficult to put "Heroes Have Wings" down; its tales of courage and heroism and documentation of triumphs and defeats are presented with convincing reality and with candour and sympathy. He has produced a fine account of operations of the RAAF ranging over all geographic theatres of war and all types of command structure (Fighter, Bomber, Coastal). I am not aware of any other publication, official or otherwise, that deals with the subject in the same way or with such convincing reality. Most of the official histories, to date have been rather antiseptic in their treatment. One of the strengths of the book is the author's descriptions of the personal thoughts and feelings expressed by the flyers themselves, before, during and after action in which they took part.

In addition, the book is lifted from being simply a recital of episodes of gallantry in the lives of young flyers by the addition of the author's commentary on tactics and strategy and command decisions as a backdrop to and a means of understanding the action situations themselves. The author, on occasions, is not hesitant to offer his own opinion about the wisdom of the decisions so made.

The result is a book which combines narrative with analysis to produce a work which in my view, admirably achieves the authors objectives - to chronicle the contributions made by Australian flyers to the air offensive of the Allies in World War II.


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A Reluctant Hero

The story of Dr James P Taylor
151 pages,
Soft Cover,

In a very moving Foreword to this book, Dr Frank Mills writes:-

"Out of the tragic shambles that was Sandakan, Peter Firkins has produced a heroic figure, comparable in courage and selflessness to that of the legendary 'Weary Dunlop', and whose story should be known by all Australians in the same way."

"What a wonderful epitaph to a man born into a humble Yass family at the end of the last century who by his own determination and intellect, won a scholarship for his secondary education at St Patrick's College, Goulburn, and an Exhibition to study medicine at Sydney University."

"Almost by pure chance he pursued his professional career in an outpost of the British Empire then known as British North Borneo to become principal Medical Officer at the time of the Japanese Occupation."

"The Japanese allowed the civilian medical staff to remain at their posts with the status of 'simple confinement' whilst at the same time the bewildered local people looked to someone for leadership in their new and unaccustomed circumstances. Aided by his wonderful wife Celia he became imperceptibly drawn into the key role of organising the underground movement among loyal natives, and giving support to the Australian POW's transferred to Borneo from Singapore in July 1942 until exposed to the Japanese a year later when he was arrested and terribly tortured. Mercifully Dr Taylor and his wife survived their internment and returned to Australia to resume a normal life."



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by Peter Firkins


ISBN 1-876439-84-X
Published in Australia 2000
by Australian Military History Publications
13 Veronica Place, Loftus 2232, Australia

1985 Edition (see below) published by
Westward Ho Publishing Company,
Perth, Western Australia

First published in 1964
by Paterson Brokensha Pty. Ltd.


Earlier edition of the above book

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by Peter Firkins

The story of the exploits of No. 460 R.A.A.F. Heavy Bomber Squadron, R.A.F. Bomber Command in the World War.

ISBN 0 9595318 1 5
1985 Edition published by
Westward Ho Publishing Company,
Perth, Western Australia

First published in 1964
by Paterson Brokensha Pty. Ltd.



  460 Squadron home page

    "G" for George home page


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This page first produced 3 December 1999

This page last updated 30 October 2018