Saturday, 7 January 2012

"Bermuda Contrails" a novel by Alan Edmund Smith

This novel is set mostly in a background of Bermuda and the English Cotswolds during WW2. The real world and the fictional interact against a backdrop of genuine events, summarised at the start of most chapters.

Today,  condensation trails made by high flying aircraft passing over Bermuda are a common sight, but Bermudians hadn't expected to see them over their Islands in 1940. Neither had Pamela Croft a young woman from Burford, England, who had just arrived in Bermuda on RMS Mataroa as a member of a British Censorship contingent of one hundred or so, from England. She saw her first contrail over Bermuda on her way to her temporary hotel, the Inverurie, just after she left the ship. She was on a horse and buggy and the sight sent shivers down her spine.

Bermudians felt sure that the contrails were the writing on the wall; Germany must be planning to invade Bermuda! Rumours began circulating that submarines had been seen off the South Shore. With no land aerodrome on Bermuda they knew these aircraft must be coming from overseas.

However the US, some 650 miles away, denied any knowledge of them. So did the British Government. The Royal Air Force were unable to determine which country these aircraft came from and did little to reassure Bermudians, although they tried hard.

Pam Croft quickly falls under Bermuda's spell and settles down there easily, in spite of the contrails, and stayed there as a Censorette for several years. During that time she developed a social life, mostly good but there were also some traumatic and complicated times, which she would never forget. She keeps up-to-date with Burford news by letters from her mother regularly.

There is not much good news, most of it is bad, some extremely bad which leads to an abrupt and dramatic end to her time in Bermuda. But this doesn't spoil her feelings for Bermuda, far from it; she returns there and eventually settles there, with a Bermudian husband and is present when a visitor provides the amazing truth about the wartime contrails.

Alan Smith first became interested in the wartime events in Bermuda following a visit to the Bermuda Maritime Museum in 1996, where he spotted some wartime photographs of flying boats moored off Darrell's Island, Bermuda. On the way back to Hamilton, the ferry passed Darrell's Island and it was the site of the now disused concrete ramps which were used to get the flying boats in and out of the water, which inspired him to try and find out more. His research has led to 3 novels, The Bermuda Affair, published in 2001; A sequel, the Bermuda Saga, in 2007, and now Bermuda Contrails.

Bermuda Contrails is published by Authors Online and can be purchased at as well as leading booksellers. An extract from Bermuda Contrails is available to read at

ISBN 9780755213900RRP: (paperback) £9.95, 370 pages : £3.95 (ebook)

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