The Navigation Log by Martin Corrick
When they are born the maid ties a luggage label around Tom's ankle. It is the only way to tell him and William apart. Years later, the loop of string remains; two ordinary boys growing up in England between the wars. Their mother is mostly absent. Their father too has his secrets. Across the road the neighbours watch them become young men. Tom takes after his daredevil uncle, captured by his vision of the aeroplane, how it soars and turns. William is entranced by the power of verse, by words that claim to speak of freedom. And then the war comes. In 1940, Tom is a Spitfire pilot, battling in the skies above Kent. William, a teacher in a progressive school, embarks on a journey of discovery that will end in Canterbury. How will they fare, the pilot and the pilgrim?