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He was, of course, the first-rate fighter leader, aggressive to the extent of being ruthless, yet inside him was a private worry which he confided to me – that his eyesight was deteriorating and might not last the war. He lived with the fear that at some point the medics might discover his defect and take him off ops. For Robert McNair, in the middle of World War II, that would have been worse than the end.

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