World War One pilots were the knights of the sky, and the press and public idolised them as gallant young heroes. At just twenty-three, Major Stanley Woolley is the old man and commanding officer of Goshawk Squadron. He abhors any notion of chivalry in the clouds and is determined to obliterate the decent, gentlemanly outlook of his young, public school-educated pilots - for their own good. But as the war goes on he is forced to thrown greener and greener pilots into the meat grinder. Goshawk Squadron finds its gallows humour and black camaraderie no defence against a Spandau bullet to the back of the head.
Shortlisted for Booker Prize for Fiction 1971
'Derek Robinson does for the Royal Flying Corps what the War Poets did for frontline soldiers' Sarah Edworthy, Daily Telegraph. 'Fit to sit on the same shelf as Waugh and Heller ... Robinson's recreation of the exhausted savagery of 1918 is truly shocking' Mike Petty, Slightly Foxed. 'Robinson mixes the action with cynicism and hard-bitten humour that has you halfway between tears and laughter. Biggles was never like this' Express.
Derek Robinson read history at Cambridge before working in advertising in London and New York. Goshawk Squadron was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1971.