Neil2 copy 2Tom Neil who has died aged 97 was one of the last two surviving Battle of Britain ‘aces’. Just 20 years old, he shot down eleven enemy aircraft serving on 249 Squadron and was twice awarded the DFC.  He went on to fight over Malta and later served with the USAAF and saw action in north-west Europe.  Post war he became a test pilot and later commanded a Meteor fighter reconnaissance squadron in the Middle East, being awarded the AFC.  He wrote extensively and was a strong supporter of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and other associations.

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Farley 2 copyJohn Farley served in the RAF as a fighter pilot before attending the Empire Test Pilots’ School.  He was posted to RAE Bedford where he flew experimental jets including the Hawker P 1127, the forerunner of the Harrier V/STOL ground attack fighter.  He joined Hawker Siddeley in 1967 and rose to become the chief test pilot.  Throughout his 19 years with the company (later part of British Aerospace) he concentrated on the development of the Harrier and Sea Harrier and played a key role in obtaining export orders, in particular to the US Marine Corps.  He was awarded the AFC and appointed OBE.

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Scan_20180602 (2)Alastair Mackie, who has died aged 95, earned two DFCs during the Second World War.  The first as a bomber pilot in the Middle East when he was barely 20 years old, and the second over Arnhem whilst delivering crucial supplies to the beleaguered 1st British Airborne Division.  Post war he commanded the second Vulcan bomber squadron to form and, whilst enjoying the flying the aircraft, he became increasingly disillusioned with British defence policy and the need for an independent nuclear deterrent.  This view was reinforced during  later appointments at the heart of MoD policy making and he chose to retire aged 45.  He served at the Middle Temple and the Health Education Council and became a prominent and active member of CND and served as its long-serving vice-president.

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9781911621072Following the success of the hardback edition (over 8,500 copies sold), Grub Street have re-piublished the book as a paperback.  This is one of four of the publisher’s ‘Boys Series’ to be reprinted and they form part of ‘The Jet Age Series’.

Reviews of the book include;

This wonderful book is entertaining and thoroughly engaging.  The quality speaks for itself and I have no hesitation in recommending it to you’  War History Online

‘Buccaneer Boys is an excellent read.  For those who served during the 60s to 90s Cold War period, it is a must.  For anyone with an interest in aviation, it is a most enjoyable book,’  Air Mail

The book is published by Grub Street

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QHC Sept 77 1 copyThe Reverend Group Captain Donald Wallace, who has died aged 92, served in the Royal Navy as an Asdic operator, initially during the Battle of the Atlantic and then in support of D-Day.  During the autumn of 1944 he sailed on the Arctic Convoys to Murmansk.  Ordained after the war, he served in Aden, Kenya, Cyprus and Germany before becoming the assistant principal chaplain at HQ Support Command.  He was appointed a Queen’s Honorary Chaplain in 1977.  He received the Russian  Ushakov Medal and the French Government awarded him the Legion d’Honneur.

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FlypastThroughout the RAF’s Centenary year, Flypast magazine is running a series of features commemorating significant activities that reflect the RAF’s illustrious history.  In the latest issue is an article I have written on the RAF’s record-breaking long-distance expeditions of the 1920s and 1930s.  The article discusses the earliest long-distance flights to India, to West Africa and to South Africa before outlining in detail, the record-breaking attempts by the Fairey Monoplane, which culminated in a non-stop to Walvis Bay, a distance of 5,309 miles.  The article concludes with a detailed account of the flight in 1938 of three Wellesleys of the Long Range Development Unit.Wellesleys copy    Two successfully completed the 7,159 miles non-stop flight from Ismailia in Egypt to Darwin in Australia in 48 hours and 5 minutes .


Gordon LVO CFS copyGroup Captain Caryl Gordon was an RAF flying instructor who taught the Duke of Edinburgh to fly.  Trained to fly in Canada, Gordon returned to England in the closing months of the Second World War.  After flying transport aircraft he became an expert flying instructor and formation aerobatic pilot.  After almost three years as the Duke’s personal pilot, Gordon commanded night fighter squadrons and was the Air Attache in Argentina.

To read full obituary click HERE