For aviation, the 1950s was a fascinating decade. For the Royal Air Force, it witnessed the transition from propeller to jet in the fields of fighter, bomber, trainer and transport aircraft. The 1950s saw the end of the Second World War veterans Lancasters, Spitfires, Mosquitoes and Sunderlands. They were replaced by the first generation of jet aircraft including the Vampire, Hunter, Javelin and, at the end of the decade, the English Electric P.1 later named the Lightning. This photographic record of the RAF during the period illustrates the full varied and wonderful array of equipment in use and also considers the important events of the decade including Korea, the Malayan Emergency, Kenya and the Suez Crisis. The decade also saw the beginning of the Cold War, which in turn led to significant developments in military aviation. For the RAF this included the V-bomber force of Valiant, Victor and Vulcan.Another development was that of the nuclear weapon and this volume includes images and information from Operation Grapple, the testing of Britain's first live thermonuclear weapon seventy times more powerful than that dropped onHiroshima in 1945 which was dropped from Vickers Valiant XD818 at Christmas Island on 15 May 1957.
Another Cold War item featured is the Thor Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile, three of which were located on their launches at twenty RAF bomber stations around the UK. 1953 saw the Coronation of HRH Queen Elizabeth II take place at Westminster Abbey on 2 June. Shortly afterwards, a Coronation Review of the Royal Air Force was organized at RAF Odiham, and many images of the never-to-be-repeated event are included here, as are details of all the 640 aircraft involved in the spectacular flypast that followed the royal inspection. Each chapter focuses on a specific year, relaying all the fascinating events and highlights. Lavishly illustrated from the archives of the Air Historical Branch, this is a colourful and insightful history, told with narrative flair and a clear passion for the subject matter.
KEITH WILSON has been actively involved in aviation publishing for more than 30 years and is probably best known for his striking air-to-air images in Pilot magazine. He has almost 2,000 air-to-air sorties under his belt and has photographed a very broad range of subjects, from gliders, vintage and veteran, aerobatics and general aviation right through to high altitude research aircraft, biz jets, commercial jets and military fast jets. During this time he has amassed a photographic archive well in excess of 250,000 images. He is the author of Red Arrows in Camera and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in Camera, published to great acclaim by Haynes in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Keith also contributes photographs and articles to magazines and publications around the world.