"Stand By Your Beds"
Author: David Findlay Clark
ISBN: 0 9535036 6 6
Cualann Press, 6 Corpach Drive, Dunfermline. KY12 7XG, Scotland
"Few National Servicemen felt that their lives had not been changed by two (or three)
years' service in the armed forces. Some believed that it that it was a waste of time but, as the author argues with some force, those who got most out of the experience were those who were prepared to make something of it. As a result they emerged as different people, boys who had become men, more disciplined and more likely to accept responsibility…They are growing older now, those men who spent what many still insist were the best (or at least the most unforgettable) years of their lives in uniform. Their story deserves to be told in all its richness and variety. By deciding to commit his own memories to print, David Clark has done just that."
"West Kirby and Beyond"
Author: Dennis Tomlinson
ISBN: 0 9534505 2 X
Ameliel Press, 66 Greenborough Road, Sprowston, Norwich, NR7 9HJ
"Fifty years after completing his squarebashing at RAF West Kirby, Dennis Tomlinson decided to write his National Service memoirs. With them, he has gathered fifty stories from other West Kirby recruits, drill and physical training instructors and even the story of a Free French airman who was there in 1940.
From his research, he has written chapters on the history of the camp itself and the hospital, which shared the same site from1940 to 1957. The book also gives glimpses of wartime life in the area including memories of patients who were at the aircrew rehabilitation centre at Hoylake.
If you were one of the 155,000 recruits trained at West Kirby or wonder what it was like for civilians to have a large RAF camp on their doorstep for nearly twenty years, it makes a fascinating read.
"History of the Royal Air Force"
Author: Michael Sharpe
ISBN: 0 75253 220 0
Parragon, Queen Street House, 4 Queen Street, Bath. BA1 1HE
"The British Royal Air Force (RAF) is one of the most effective and famous air forces in the world, composed of high-calibre personnel flying state-of-the-art aircraft.
The History of the Royal Air Force is a comprehensive and highly illustrated account of the RAF, tracing its development from its early days as the Royal Flying Corps, who won the air war over the Western Front in World War One, through its finest hour in The Battle of Britain of World War Two when its tenacity earned it worldwide fame, and its bomber campaign helped destroy the German war effort.
The story continues with the RAF's role in the turbulent postwar world, the gradual withdrawal from Empire and the Suez Crisis. It concludes with the1991 Gulf War, when the RAF helped the United Nations defeat the forces of Saddam Hussein, and a look at how the RAF is restructuring itself and re-equipping with a new generation of flying machines that will help it to remain an effective fighting force well into the 21st Century."
"The Lancaster Story"
Author: Peter Jacobs
ISBN: 1 85605 703 8
Silverdale Books, Desford Road, Enderby, Leicester. LE19 4AD
The Avro Lancaster was one of the most successful, and justly most famous, aircraft of the Second World War. The Lancaster took the air war back to the Luftwaffe in the nick of time, flying its first operations in the spring of 1942. Its impact was so great, and the job it had to do so important, that just three years later the RAF had 56 squadrons equipped with this sturdy, effective bomber.
Developed from the two-engined Manchester, the first prototype four-engined Lancaster heavy bomber flew in January 1941. The first production model was flying in October of the same year; by the end of the war, over 7,300 Lancasters had been built. Its role of honour included the Thousand-Bomber raids of Summer 1942, the Dambusters raid of 1943, the crippling of the German rocket centre at Peenemünde, the raids on Berlin and Nuremburg, operations in support of the Allied invasion of Normandy, and the capsizing of the German battleship Tirpitz. In all, 156,308 operational sorties were flown. Over 3,800 Lancasters were lost on operations, or otherwise destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Bomber Command success was bought at a heavy price.
This book describes the concept, design, construction, testing and operational history of the Lancaster, taking the story through to the present day and the one remaining aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the City of Lincoln, still the star of countless air shows every year. Appendices provide the detail of variants, production numbers, squadron allocations, operating bases and principal raids. Written by Peter Jacobs, a serving RAF officer who has himself crewed the Lancaster, this deeply researched volume, illustrated with more than 200 photographs and diagrams, is a fitting tribute to a famous aircraft and those who designed, built, flew and maintained it during the dark and dangerous days of the Second World War.
"Bomber Command 1939-45"
Author: Richard Overy
ISBN: 0 26167 258 4
Bookmart Ltd, Desford Road, Enderby, Leicester. LE19 4AD
"From 1940 to 1945 RAF Bomber Command attacked the industrial heartland of Germany. Daylight attacks were impossible in the face of German interceptors, so RAF aircrew had to learn to bomb by night. Anti-aircraft guns and night fighters, bad weather and sheer fatigue took a terrible toll: 55,000 RAF personnel lost their lives in the bombing campaign.
In Bomber Command survivors of the RAF's longest campaign reveal what it was like to take off, knowing that the chance of completing a tour of operations was less than 1 in 10. They describe every aspect of their war from hazardous training flights to special missions, and how it felt to bail out from a stricken bomber over the Ruhr.
Published in association with the Bomber Command Association to accompany the documentary film Reaping the Whirlwind".
"Thames Valley Airfields in the Second World War"
(Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Middlesex)
Author: Robin J Brooks
ISBN: 1 85306 633 8
Countryside Books, 3 Catherine Road, Newbury, Berkshire.
(Their complete range of books can be seen on: www.countryside books.co.uk)
"Despite the growing importance of aviation after 1914, and public interest in pioneering flights such as Amy Johnson's run from Croydon to Australia; at the outbreak of war in 1939, there were only three military airfields - Northolt, Hendon and Woodley, and one civil airfield - Heston, in the whole of the Thames Valley.
However, a massive building programme was soon underway with Membury, Wing and Thame finished in 1941 and five more - Oakley, Cheddington, Little Horwood, Westcott and Aldermaston in 1942.
Northolt, Heston and Hendon had become home to No 11 Group Fighter Command early in the war, and so were heavily involved in the Battle of Britain, their contribution being co-ordinated from Command Headquarters at nearby Bentley Priory.
As the newly built airfields became operational, many were taken over by the USAAF including Greenham Common and Welford and were involved in the planning and eventual execution of Operation Overlord, the Allied D-Day assault upon Fortress Europe. Others became flying training centres providing much needed new pilots and crew for hard pressed Bomber and Fighter Squadrons.
This book describes the history of each airfield, highlights some of the major operations carried out from them and marks their overall contribution to the great war effort. The effects of this on the daily lives of the people living in the Thames Valley, including the code breakers at Buckinghamshire's Bletchley Park, and the constant dangers they all suffered are also detailed.
Robin Brooks' action-packed account will bring back vivid memories for many. It is a sharp reminder of the time when the skies never ceased to throb with the drone of departing and returning aircraft.
"The Poems We Wrote"
Compiled and Edited by Eddy A Coward
ISBN: 0 9530255 00
E A Coward, 5 Brocksford Avenue, Rayleigh, Essex. SS6 8RH
"An anthology of Air Force Poems which will be enjoyed the most by those who wore the RAF blue".