Dilip Sarkar MBE FRHistS

Dilip Sarkar has been fascinated by the Second World War for a lifetime, his prolific work focused on the ‘human’ element of war. He is deeply moved by the stories of casualties – especially the ‘missing’ – and how these losses continue to affect families today.

For many years, Dilip enjoyed a uniquely close and privileged relationship with innumerable Battle of Britain pilots, and the relatives of casualties, enabling him to write prolifically, publishing original research and collating an enormous archive of photographs. He has now written nearly forty books, including the authorised biographies of Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader and Air Vice-Marshal Johnnie Johnson, the official RAF top-scoring fighter pilot of the war, and is an internationally recognised expert.

Dr Gordon Mitchell (extreme left), author and son of Spitfire designer ‘RJ’, with Battle of Britain pilots at the launch of Dilip’s ‘The Invisible Thread’ at Great Malvern in 1992. All are now sadly deceased – but Dilip had the great privilege of a unique relationship with many of the fabled Few…

Dilip’s boundless passion is sharing these stories with the wider world, to which end throughout the 1990s, he organised numerous high-profile book launches and symposiums, attended by a host of the Few and wartime personalities – providing the man in the street the unprecedented opportunity to meet names from the pages of history. This unprecedented approach was recognised in 2003, when Dilip was made an MBE for ‘services to aviation history’. Elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 2006, Dilip has First Class Honours in Modern History from University Worcester, and is also a retired police officer whose work is renowned for being evidence-based – often challenging long-accepted myths.

As Battle of Britain fighter ‘ace’ Wing Commander George Unwin DSO DFM famously said, ‘If you want to know anything about the Battle of Britain and the Few, don’t ask us, ask Dilip!’