Pilots and Partisans

Photos and interviews

Pilots and Partisans

PILOTS and PARTISANS from WWII to the Cold War and beyond – now-and-then portrait photographs of those who were there at the sharp end and their fascinating stories.

While they were still with us, I photographed and interviewed former WWII combat pilots in a “then and now” style. Which means I made photographs of them when they were in their 90’s in poses that were the same as when they were in their 20’s in uniform during WWII. You can see it is the same person in spite of the 70 year gap.

I was lucky enough to meet, photograph and interview 40 combatants in ten countries, including women who fought as partisans against German forces and my father who was a WWII fighter pilot in the British Royal Air Force.

I wish I could have photographed more WWII combatants, but I did this largely using my own limited financial resources at a time when I was raising two young children following the death of my wife from cancer.

Meeting these old heroes and recording their stories was a cathartic thing for me. Although, I must confess, it was painful to make friends with these wonderful old people and for them to pass away within a short while. I am truly grateful for the time I spent with them.

I’ll keep posting my work until all 40 combatants I have done so far are shown here and on my YouTube channel.

And, given that my children are now grown up, I intend to crack-on finding and photographing people who saw action in conflicts after the Second World War.

So far I have been fortunate to spend time with guys who fought in Korea, Vietnam and the conflict between Angola and South Africa in which South African pilots, flying French Mirages with Israeli spare parts, duelled against Soviet-supported Cuban pilots flying Migs.

There is lots more to come!

I really hope you like my photos and the associated videos.

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All the best


October 2020

John Bradley


As my main drive was to photograph people and write their stories, I only used a basic video recorder or my phone to record the conversations.

Of course I now wish I had made 4K video recordings to support my photos on my YouTube channel . I feel quite sad about this as I see it is a lost opportunity. These wonderful men and women are no longer with us, gone forever, and it would have been a fitting tribute to them to record their stories with high definition video.

All future interviews will be recorded in high definition video.

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