The Last Enemy



The Last Enemy is the story of Richard Hillary, one of Sebastian Faulks’ three ‘fatal englishmen’. In this extraordinary account, the author details his experiences as a fighter pilot in the Second World War, in which he was shot down, leading to months in hospital as part of Archibald McIndoe’s ‘Guinea Pig Club’, undergoing pioneering plastic surgery to rebuild his face and hands.

The Last Enemy was first published in 1942, just seven months before Hilary’s untimely death in a second crash and has gone on to be hailed as one of the classic texts of World War Two.


  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099551829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099551829
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 20 cm


Richard.H. Hillary from No. 603 Sqn made a spectacular debut on 29th August 1940 by destroying on Messerschmitt Bf 109 over Manston and a probable Bf 109 over Deal.

In Spitfire X4277 XT-M, he was shot down on 3rd September 1940 at 1004hrs over Margate by Hauptmann Helmut Bode of II./JG26. Hillary’s plane burst into flame burning his hands and eyes, unprotected by not wearing gloves and having his goggles up. He was picked up by Margate Lifeboat after three hours of searching. He went under the care of Archie McIndoe at East Grinstead as one of the “Guinea Pigs” but was later killed in a Blenheim on 8th January 1943.

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