On 6 August and 8 August 1945, the world changed forever with the release of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. In January 1947, the United States informed the British Government that they would not provide technical data for the production of nuclear weapons. It was therefore decided that Britain would produce its own bombs. In July 1944, the first operational jet aircraft, the Meteor, entered service in the RAF and the Government decided to develop jet-powered aircraft capable of dropping nuclear weapons, resulting in the development of the ‘V’ bombers: Valiant, Vulcan and Victor.
As a result of the deteriorating relationship with Russia, the United States, as part of NATO, worked with the UK and co-operated in nuclear operational planning with US bomber aircraft based in the UK. Later, as a result of the development of nuclear power, submarines were fitted with nuclear weapons which resulted in the deterrent role passing from the RAF to the Royal Navy. However, the Cold War provided a unique role and responsibility for the RAF.
My Target was Leningrad – V Force: Preserving our Democracy is unique in that it is a human story, not just a list of technical facts and bomber data. With many previously unpublished photographs from the author’s private collection, this is the chilling story of what really happened and how close the world came to World War III and a nuclear apocalypse. Unlike other military historians, author Philip Goodall not only flew the mighty V bombers in action, but was also tasked to drop the bomb on Leningrad.
Philip Goodall entered the RAF in 1953 and was posted for jet training on the Meteor and Canberra. In 1954, he was posted to the Middle East to fly the Valiant where he was engaged with Egyptian activities on the Suez Canal. Goodall joined No. 90 Squadron and was a member of the only V Force crew to be awarded the Malayan General Service medal. In 1959, he was awarded the ‘Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air’ and became Flight Commander on No. 7 Valiant Squadron. In 1967, he commanded No. 27 Squadron with the Vulcan at Scampton with one squadron fitted with the Blue Steel on constant alert. In 1972, Goodall was posted to the Headquarters of Strike Command with responsibility for producing the RAF Nuclear War plans.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Illustrations: 112 black-and-white and 32 colour photographs