Northern ‘Q’: The History of Royal Air Force, Leuchars takes its title from the long standing primary role of RAF Leuchars. This book is a definitive and comprehensive history of this airbase, one of the oldest remaining active airfields in the UK. Leuchars began its existence as an aerodrome as far back as 1909, then in the hands of Royal Engineers operating hot air balloons. Much of the post-Second World War era was spent variously in the hands of the RFC, RNAS and RAF, mostly as an elementary flying training station. Following the outbreak of war in 1939, the station was identified as an ideal location to launch maritime operations under Coastal Command. By the end of the war, Leuchars, like so many other airfields, was under threat of redundancy through being found surplus to requirements.
The station’s role changed as the Cold War began in earnest. Given its location, the base was on the frontline of UK Air Defence for the duration of the Soviet threat and remains active as one of only two UK Air Defence Fighter stations in the RAF Order of Battle.This developing international situation placed Leuchars once again in an ideal and vital position. The post-war air defence threat to the UK was resurgent, but this time from the north rather than south. From 1950, this airbase has been on permanent guard with every type of operational interceptor in RAF service. Now facing closure purely as a result of SDSR cuts and political compromise, Leuchars also has the unique distinction of being the last RAF station to officially stage a Battle of Britain at Home Air Display each September.
Ian Smith Watson was born in 1960 and served in the RAF from 1977 to 1990 as an Air Defence Radar Operator. He also worked in Saudi Arabia from 1991 to 1993 on contract to the RSAF under the GENA programme and received the FAA Flight Despatch Licence in 1993. His first book for Fonthill Media was Fading Eagle: Politics and Decline of Britain’s Post-War Air Force.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Illustrations: 80 b/w photographs