The Machine Gunners - Robert Westall

As a child of the late 60's I loved to read everything from Captain Hurricane in the Valliant, the wonderful William by Richard Compton, and the amazing adventures of those intrepid five, the famous five. The machine gunners harks back to an innocent time, set during the second world war and a society light years away from the introduction of the internet and the scourge of social media. It's the story of Chas McGill and how he acquires a machine gun from the downed wreck of a German fighter plane. It's actually more than that; a story of friendship and growing up in a fictitious north east English town of Garmouth where the inhabitants attempt to survive under the constant bombing by Nazi fighter pilots. We meet Rudi a German pilot, ousted from his destroyed plane, who encounters  Chas and his close gang Clogger and Nicky. Rudi is befriended by the gang of friends and they realize that those who they were taught to hate and fear are just like themselves frightened and disillusioned.