Royal Air Force


Royal Air Force books

All these titles are available to purchase from Pen and Sword.

Contents:
- 'Sam' Marshal of the Royal Air Force the Lord Elworthy - By Richard Mead..
- A Century of Air Warfare With Nine (IX) Squadron, RAF - By Gordon Thorburn..
- A Fighter Command Station at War - By Mark Hillier..
- A Goldstar Century - By Ian Hall..
- A Passion for Flying - By Group Captain Tom Eeles..
- A Spy in the Sky - By Kenneth B Johnson..
- A Tale of Ten Spitfires - By Andrew Critchell..
- Adventures of a Cold War Fast-Jet Navigator - By Wg Cdr David Herriot..
- Air Force Lives - By Phil Tomaselli..
- An Eye in the Sky - By Bob Cossey..
- Badges & Uniforms of the RAF - By Malcolm Hobart, Malcolm Hobart..
- Black Arrow Blue Diamond - By Brian Mercer..
- Bombers Fly East - By Martin Bowman..
- Britain's Greatest Aircraft - By Robert Jackson..
- Camel Combat Ace - By Barry M. Marsden..

 


 

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'Sam' Marshal of the Royal Air Force the Lord Elworthy

By Richard Mead

'Sam' Marshal of the Royal Air Force the Lord ElworthyDescription:

This biography of Sam Elworthy, arguably the most distinguished RAF officer of the post War era, is long overdue. Born in New Zealand, but educated at Marlborough College and Trinity College, Cambridge, Elworthy was called to the Bar but, with his love of flying, was permanently commissioned into the RAF in 1936. After distinguished active service, earning a DSO and DFC commanding a Blenheim squadron, he became ‘Bomber’ Harris’s liaison officer to Eisenhower, achieving the acting rank of air commodore aged 33.

After serving in India and Pakistan, Elworthy held senior positions in Fighter Command before becoming Commandant of the RAF Staff College, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and then C-in-C of the tri-service Middle East Command, where he saw off the first threat to Kuwait from Iraq. In 1963 he was appointed Chief of the Air Staff, fighting the RAF’s corner successfully during a time of defence cuts, and in 1967 became Chief of the Defence Staff, managing the withdrawal from East of Suez and strengthening the UK’s role in NATO.

In retirement, Elworthy became Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle and the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London. He was made a Baron in 1972 and a Knight of the Garter in 1977. In 1978 he and his wife, Audrey, returned to their homeland of New Zealand, where he died in 1993.

The RAF’s Centenary year is a fitting moment for the publication of this outstanding airman’s biography.

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A Century of Air Warfare With Nine (IX) Squadron, RAF

By Gordon Thorburn

A Century of Air Warfare With Nine (IX) Squadron, RAFDescription:

In the earliest days of World War One, when IX Squadron was formed, we went to the fight in little 50mph machines that were barely capable of taking pilot and observer, a gun and a few small, hand-held bombs into the sky, especially on a windy day. When we took a wireless set, to spot for the artillery and report on troop movements, the extra load forced the defenceless pilot to leave his observer behind.

A century later, IX (B) Squadron flies jets that can exceed the speed of sound, place laser-guided missiles within a few centimetres of the target, and transmit the most complex data in real time across the globe.

In between, the tale is of ponderous beasts of biplanes, of Wellingtons and Lancasters in the bloody battles of World War Two, of Canberras and Vulcans in the nuclear age of the Cold War.

Above all, it's the story of the men and women of the RAF's senior bomber squadron across a hundred years of war and peace, and their words fill this book. We go from those beginnings in wood, wire and fabric kites over France and a pilot armed with a service revolver, to the world's first Tornado squadron in the Gulf wars, over Kosovo and Afghanistan, and so to the present, a century on.

It really is one hell of a story.

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A Fighter Command Station at War

By Mark Hillier

A Fighter Command Station at WarDescription:

Situated close to the South Coast, on flat land to the north of Chichester in West Sussex, lies Goodwood Aerodrome. This pleasant rural airfield was once home to squadrons of Hurricanes, Spitfires and later Typhoons. RAF Westhampnett was at the forefront of the Battle of Britain as a satellite to the Sector (or controlling) Station of RAF Tangmere, part of 11 Group, which bore the brunt of the struggle for Britain's survival in 1940.

It became the base of Wing Commander Douglas Bader until he was shot down over France, as Fighter Command took the war to the enemy with operational sweeps over Occupied Europe. Those operations included the infamous Channel Dash which saw the escape of the German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the Dieppe raid of 1942 which involved the largest aerial battle of the war up to that date. Westhampnett's squadrons also supported the D-Day landings and the subsequent Battle of Normandy.

Packed with the largest collection of photographs of this airfield ever compiled, this illustrated publication provides a detailed history of the fighting as seen through the eyes of many of the pilots and ground crew. RAF Westhampnett brings to life those exciting but dangerous days of the Second World War through the words and photographs of those who were there.

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A Goldstar Century

By Ian Hall

A Goldstar CenturyDescription:

Number 31 Squadron RAF will celebrate its centenary in 2015; a pivotal milestone for a Squadron engaged at the forefront of military activity for the past 100 years. With a number of events lined up to celebrate this important anniversary, former Commanding Officer of the Squadron, Ian Hall, has set himself the ambitious task of penning the Squadron's entire history, from formation right up to current-day activities. 

This lively and informative narrative is interspersed with first-hand accounts taken from interviews conducted with the men who made/make up the Squadron. The first twenty-five years of the Squadron's history were spent on India's North-West Frontier, hence the Squadron motto 'First in the Indian Skies'. During the Second World War, it was occupied mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, before moving to the Burma theatre for the remainder of the war. Upon returning to the UK in 1948, the Squadron performed communications duties until, in 1955, it joined the Cold War in West Germany, operating successively in reconnaissance and strike/attack roles. Operational deployment in recent years has seen the Squadron deployed during the Gulf War, the Iraq War, in Kosovo, and Afghanistan. With troops pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014, 31 Squadron have now completed a circular history, and there seems no better time than now to commit it to print.

Each and every facet of this long and varied history is relayed in a style that serves to provide an account that is at once celebratory and objective when it comes to recording not only the facts of the various deployments but also the personal stories of the men behind the headlines.

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A Passion for Flying

By Group Captain Tom Eeles

A Passion for FlyingDescription:

Group Captain Tom Eeles served in the RAF for 44 years and totaled over 8000 hours of flying in twenty-eight different aircraft types. Tom entered RAF College Cranwell in 1961, he gained his RAF wings in 1963. His first posting was to No 16 squadron flying the Canberra. Its role as a light bomber squadron was primarily nuclear strike, with a secondary role of conventional ground attack by day and night. 16 Squadron was deployed to Kuantan, Malaya. In July 1966 and on loan to the Senior Service, Tom reported to RNAS Lossiemouth for a swept wing conversion course on the Hunter before starting the Buccaneer Operational Flying Course. After 65 hours in the Buccaneer he was posted to 801 NAS, HMS Victorious.

In 1969 he joined 736 Naval Air Squadron which was responsible for training courses for RAF aircrew converting to the Buccaneer. He moved to 12 Squadron based at RAF Honington. Their task was to provide a maritime strike/attack capability and a nuclear strike capability in support of the UK National Plan. 1975 saw a move to 79 Squadron flying the Hunter. After a spell at the RAF Staff College, Tom became staff officer responsible for all aspects of fast jet advanced flying training on the Hawk at Valley and multi engine advanced flying training at Finningley. In 1983, selected to command 237 OCU, again flying the Buccaneer at Lossiemouth.

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A Spy in the Sky

By Kenneth B Johnson

A Spy in the SkyDescription:

Many stories abound of the daring exploits of the RAF’s young fighter pilots defying the might of Hitler’s Luftwaffe, and of the dogged courage of the men of Bomber Command flying night after night over Germany in the face of flak and Focke-Wulfs, yet little has been written about the pilots who provided the key evidence that guided the RAF planners – the aerial photographers.

Ken Johnson joined No.1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit as an eighteen-year-old and soon found himself at the controls of a Spitfire high above enemy territory. The PRU aircraft were stripped of all non-essential equipment to increase their performance, because speed and height was their only protection as the aircraft’s guns were among those items that were removed.

In this light-hearted reminiscence, Ken Johnson relives his training and transfer to an operational unit, but not the one he had expected. He had asked if he could fly Spitfires. He was granted that request, only to find himself joining a rare band of flyers who took to the skies alone, and who flew in broad daylight to photograph enemy installations with no radios and no armament. Unlike the fighter pilots who sought out enemy aircraft, the pilots of the PRU endeavoured to avoid all contact; returning safely with their vital photographs was their sole objective.

As well as flying in northern Europe, Ken Johnson was sent to North Africa, where his squadron became part of the United States Army Air Force North West African Photographic Wing (NAPRW). In this role, he flew across southern Europe, photographing targets in France and Italy.

The Spy in the Sky fills a much-needed gap in the history of the RAF and, uniquely, the USAAF during the latter stages of the Second World War.

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A Tale of Ten Spitfires

By Andrew Critchell

A Tale of Ten SpitfiresDescription:

The Fw190’s supremacy over the Spitfire V is a classic legend from the Second World War, heralding one of the darkest times for Fighter Command and the RAF. A Tale of Ten Spitfires brings this legend to life by examining the individual combat histories of ten Spitfire VCs, the first of which is the Shuttleworth Collection’s well known Spitfire AR501, followed by the next nine on the production line, AR502 to AR510.

This link to a ‘living’ airframe, which has recently flown again after an epic 13 year restoration, will appeal to both enthusiasts of AR501 and anyone with a wider in interest in this classic British icon.

Through first hand accounts, combat reports, unit diaries and more, the book provides a unique looking glass into the period, told via the experiences of the Spitfire pilots themselves, tracing their fates and those of the ten machines that they flew.

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Adventures of a Cold War Fast-Jet Navigator

By Wg Cdr David Herriot

Adventures of a Cold War Fast-Jet NavigatorDescription:

David Herriot served almost 40 years in the Royal Air Force as a navigator, first on the Buccaneer S2 and subsequently on the Tornado GR1. This volume recounts his early career operating the Buccaneer on three operational flying tours plus a tour as an instructor on the Operational Conversion Unit. With almost 2500 hours on an aircraft that was operated at high-speed, in all weathers and at ultra low-level, his task in the rear seat was a demanding one. But Herriot was more than just the guy in the back of a Buccaneer; he was, quite routinely, and often to the exasperation of his seniors, the life and soul of any party that was taking place either at home base or when overseas defending the flanks of NATO.

This is an epic adventure for the aviation enthusiast, particularly those with affection for the Blackburn Buccaneer, and is one that provides a great deal more than the usual introduction to a specific aircraft type and the people who flew it. Here the reader will find an absolute insight into life on a fast jet squadron, at work and mischievous play during the Cold War and they will be introduced to some of the modern Royal Air Force’s greatest characters.

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Air Force Lives

By Phil Tomaselli

Air Force LivesDescription:

What was it like to serve as an airman in the Second World War, as a pilot, a bomb aimer, or aerial gunner, or as a trainee pilot in 1913, a Zeppelin chaser during the First World War, or serve as a Wren fitter in the Fleet Air Arm or as a member of the ground crew who are so often overlooked in the history of Britain's air arm? And how can you find out about an individual, an ancestor whose service career is a gap in your family's history?

Phil Tomaselli, in this readable and instructive book, shows you how this can be done. He describes in fascinating detail the careers of a group air force personnel from all branches and levels of the service. Using evidence gleaned from a range of sources – archives, memoirs, official records, books, libraries, oral history and the internet – he reconstructs the records of a revealing and representative group of ordinary men and women: among them an RFC fitter who won the Military Medal on the Somme, an RAF pilot who flew in Russia in 1919, an air gunner from the Second Word War, a Pathfinder crew who flew 77 missions, a Battle of Britain pilot and a typical WAAF.

In each case he shows how the research was conducted and explains how the lives of such individuals can be explored.

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An Eye in the Sky

By Bob Cossey

An Eye in the SkyDescription:

This is the biography of Henry Crowe whose career encompassed time as an infantryman with the Royal Irish Regiment during the First World War, an observer with the RFC and fledgling RAF, a pilot in Ireland at the time of the Irish War of Independence, a photographic officer and flight commander in Iraq, and Commanding Officer of Nos. 23 and 74 Squadrons. His memories of time spent in Iraq and on the North West Frontier between the wars have a real resonance today, illustrating just how little has changed in some respects.

Henry served at the Air Ministry in various positions and concluded his service with the RAF in India, retiring as an Air Commodore in 1945. He had a keen interest in photography and took hundreds of images of the places he served, the aircraft he flew and saw, and the people he met. With an early Bell and Howell cine camera he also captured film of Malta, Iraq and India between the wars. As a photographic record alone this book is fascinating. But Henry wrote about his experiences as well and it is his memoirs that form the backbone of this biography, written with the full backing of his family.

Henry Crowe was highly decorated and especially well thought of during the course of his career; reading Bob Crossey’s account of his fascinating life, it is clear to see why.

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Badges & Uniforms of the RAF

By Malcolm Hobart, Malcolm Hobart

Badges & Uniforms of the RAFDescription:

The Royal Air Force may be the youngest of the three armed services but its near century-old history ranks amongst the finest annals of our national heritage. The sacrifice, skill and bravery of those who have worn 'light blue' in many forms are legendary.

It is therefore vital that the tens of thousands of men and women who have given the RAF its world-renowned reputation should not be over-shadowed by the aircraft they have flown in or supported on the ground. The uniforms and insignia so proudly worn by members of the RAF and its predecessor, the Royal Flying Corps, as well as by the WRAF, RAF Reserve and Auxiliary Services, Air Training Corps and the little publicised Royal Observer Corps, deserve a definitive work. Fortunately Malcolm Hobart has skilfully addressed this deficiency. Badges and Uniforms of the Royal Air Force is a vital work for militaria collectors and all those with a particular interest in the history of the RAF and aviation.

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Black Arrow Blue Diamond

By Brian Mercer

Black Arrow Blue DiamondDescription:

Brian Mercer is one of the most outstanding post-war RAF fighter pilots and in this eminently readable autobiography he recaptures life as it was in the days of transition from flying piston-powered aircraft to jet power. His flying and leadership skills resulted in a long association with what was then considered as the finest aerobatic display team in the world - Treble One Squardron’s ‘Black Arrows’. Flying the elegant black Hawker Hunters in large formation displays was no easy task and the author explains in great detail how their legendary precision was achieved, revealing many exciting incidents en route. When Treble One’s Hunters were replaced with the supersonic Lightining fighter, it soon became clear that these superfast aircraft were not suited to close-up display flying. Brian was then asked to form a new RAF display team and continue with Hunters. This was to become the No. 92 Squadron’s Blue Diamonds’, who inherited the star role. Faced with the fact that future promotion within the RAF would move him from cockpit to desk, Brian elected to join then then fledgling airline, Cathay Pacific. His story continues with many exciting incidents flying from the company’s home base at Kai Tak in Hong Kong.

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Bombers Fly East

By Martin Bowman

Bombers Fly EastDescription:

Highlights include several chapters on the Mediterranean air forces, with special emphasis placed on the brave but futile attempts of the South African Air Force Liberator crews in Italy to supply Polish patriots during the Warsaw uprising. Individual chapters covering various aspects of the war in the Mediterranean, Malta and the Western Desert are told by the combatants themselves in crisp unerring detail. The author recounts the thrilling RAF Wellington and Liberator bombing and re-supply operations from Italy, before following the action to the Far East and the combats between the RAF and the Japanese Imperial Air Force. 

The story of some of the bravest Blenheim sorties and dog fights with Japanese Zeroes are uniquely related by the crews and the Japanese pilots. Numerous stories of the part played by the RAF and Royal Australian Air Force Liberator crews operating over the jungles of Šiam, Malaya and Singapore feature, as does the story of the famous ‘Yangtze Incident’, which involved HMS Amethyst’s precarious and dangerous voyage down the Yangtze River in the face of opposition from Chinese forces.

The book is illustrated with never before seen images of RAF, SAAF, RAAF and USAAF aircraft and their crews. It serves to commemorate the many acts of bravery, endurance and heroism that characterised this time.

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Britain's Greatest Aircraft

By Robert Jackson

Britain's Greatest AircraftDescription:

During the last century the British aircraft industry created and produced many outstanding aeroplanes. These aircraft were world leaders in advanced technology, utilizing inventions by British engineers and scientists such as radar, the jet engine, the ejector seat and vertical take-off and landing. This book describes the design-history, development and operational careers of twenty-two legendary military and civil aeroplanes. Each one has played a significant part in aviation history.

Sopwith Camel, SE.5, Bristol F2B Fighter and the Airco DH4 were all great successes in the relatively early days of flight. In the thirties the Bristol Bulldog fighter was an outstanding export success and the Short 'C' Class flying boat, later to become the Sunderland of World War II fame, pioneered the long-distance routes to the Empire. The pugnacious foreign policy of Hitler's Reich rung sudden alarm bells, rapid advances in fighting aircraft for the RAF became a premium objective. The brilliant Geodic construction of the Vickers Wellington bomber helped it survive terrible punishment throughout World War II, both the Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire saved England from invasion and the Bristol Beaufighter, de Havilland Mosquito and Avro Lancaster took the war to enemy soil. The Gloster Meteor became the word's first operational jet fighter and the English Electric Canberra became the RAF's first jet bomber and was manufactured under licence in the USA as the Martin B-57. In post-war years the Vickers Viscount became the world's first turboprop airliner and eventually became Britain's best selling commercial aircraft, whilst the de Havilland Comet became the world's first jet airliner. Despite Britain's recessionary years in the 50s and early 60s, military success came with the beautiful Hawker Hunter, the super-sonic Fairey Delta experimental aircraft that broke the World Air Speed Record and the Vickers Valiant that pioneered the operational techniques to deliver Britain's nuclear deterrent. Later, there followed the Mach 2 English Electric Lightning and the ill-fated TSR-2, the cancellation of which is still regarded as one of the greatest mistakes ever made in British aviation history. Finally, the Harrier, the world's first vertical take-off and landing jet fighter that is still in service and now only being built in the USA.

Finally the Harrier, the world's first vertical take-off and landing jet fighter, still in service and now being further developed in the USA.

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Camel Combat Ace

By Barry M. Marsden

Camel Combat AceDescription:

This book follows the First World War career of Captain (later wing commander) Edwin Swale, CBE DFC and bar, who served with 210 Squadron RAF, piloting Sopwith Camel scouts between March and October 1918. During this timeframe, he destroyed seventeen enemy aircraft, the majority being the formidable Fokker DV11. He undertook a series of perilous operations, including patrols, bombing and strafing missions and bomber escorts. 

After the cessation of hostilities, he continued his flying career by piloting gliders over his native Derbyshire. He rejoined the RAF during the Second World War and ended the conflict as an intelligence officer in charge of Ultra operations with the 2nd TAF. His son Duncan also served in the RAF during the Second World War, flying low-level intruder operations in de Havilland Mosquitoes and earning a DFC and a US DFC. Swale also gave noted service to his native Chesterfield as a councillor, alderman, mayor and JP.

This is his story, told in full and thrilling detail.

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