Foreword by Group Captain Billy Drake DSO, DFC & Bar, DFC (US) In June 1940 Billy Drake was shot down in his Hurricane over France when a German cannon shell exploded behind his head. He survived thanks to a sheet of armour. Had he been shot down a few weeks earlier, when armour was considered ˜unnecessary’, he would have been killed. Much earlier, at the start of the First World War armour had also been considered ˜unnecessary’ as its weight reduced the performance of the already underpowered aircraft. Nevertheless some pilots and squadrons made their own protection. By 1918 the view of the Air Ministry had changed and it commissioned designs for an armoured ˜Trench Fighter’ which had a fully armoured cockpit. Lessons had been learned, but the price in pilots killed had been high. In this carefully researched book Michael Cox takes the reader through the development of aircraft armour from 1910 to 1945, using the stories of pilots to illustrate how vital it could be. Aircraft design and technology is also examined, with little known aircraft such as the ˜Sopwith Salamander’ and ˜Farnborough Ram’ playing an important role.