Northern ‘Q’: The History of Royal Air Force Leuchars


Into the Swarm: Stories of RAF Fighter Pilots in the Second World War


RAF Acklington: Guardian of the Northern Skies


History of the de Havilland Vampire


Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom: Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second


Battle for the Channel: The First Month of the Battle of Britain 10 July-10 August 1940


Patrolling the Cold War Skies: Reheat Sunset


249 at Malta: RAF’s Top-Scoring Fighter Squadron


Time Flies Reflections of a Fighter Pilot


Messerschmitt Bf 109: The Design and Operational History


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Northern ‘Q’: The History of Royal Air Force Leuchars

Product no.: 978-1-78155-609-2
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  • The demands of financial pressures from the coalition government have led to severe defence cuts where political expedience has driven the agenda resulting in the departure of the RAF from Leuchars to Lossiemouth
  • Comprehensive with exhaustive research from the National Archives, previously unpublished RAF operational record books and many anecdotes from former airmen and officers
  • Gloriously illustrated throughout with a varied and interesting selection of images, many previously unpublished


Northern ‘Q’: The History of Royal Air Force Leuchars takes its title from the long standing primary role as one of the oldest airfields in the UK. Leuchars began its links with military aviation as far back as 1911 with the arrival of the Royal Engineers who established a balloon squadron for reconnaissance training. 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 the threat of redundancy as many airfields were rendered 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 due to 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.

THE AUTHOR

Ian Smith Watson joined the RAF when he left school in 1977. He served in the RAF from 1977 to 1990 as an air defence radar operator in the UK, Germany and Belize. A lifelong aviation enthusiast, Watson likes to reflect that his time in the RAF was marked by the last two significant events to portray the RAF as an air force with depth, reach and an all-round capability: the 1977 Silver Jubilee and the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Fading Eagle: Politics and Decline of Britain’s Post-War Air Force (2013) was his first book for Fonthill Media.

FORMAT

234 x 156 mm - paperback - 208 pages - 80 black-and-white photographs

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Into the Swarm: Stories of RAF Fighter Pilots in the Second World War

Product no.: 978-1-78155-615-3
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  • Gloriously illustrated with many rare and unpublished photographs
  • A glorious work of in-depth research that took years to complete
  • Previously unpublished letter extracts
  • An excellent collection of stories of lesser known RAF fighter pilots


Into the Swarm: Stories of RAF Fighter Pilots in the Second World War is a collaborative work by Christopher Yeoman and Tor Idar Larsen that tells the sobering and heroic stories of RAF fighters pilots in the most ferocious air battles of the war. Accompanying gripping and detailed stories of aerial combat are previously unpublished photographs and letter extracts, which adds to the rich content provided by these enthusiastic authors whose passion for the subject matter is evidently apparent within each chapter.

A fine tribute to the gallant aviators who took to the air in hostile skies, this book tells of courage and sacrifice in France, to daring and determination, to gain air supremacy over the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain and Malta. This work also provides a wider story of RAF pilots of the Second World War, from those early battles in 1940 all the way up to a few days before VE-Day.

These stories offer a broad and versatile insight into the life of fighter pilots from many countries, from different cultures but with a common determination of fighting Nazi Germany over Europe’s aerial arenas.

THE AUTHORS

Christopher Yeoman was born in 1981 and lives in Farnborough, Hampshire. He is the author of Tiger Cub: The Story of John Freeborn, DFC*, The Battle of Britain: Portraits of The Few and Rise Against Eagles (Fonthill Media). He has also written articles for Fighting High: World War Two and Bomber Command: Failed to Return.

Tor Idar Larsen was born in 1980 and lives in Eina, Norway. He is the author of Viking Spitfire: The Story of Finn Thorsager, Spitfire Glory: The Wartime Flying Life of Leif Lundsten (Fonthill Media) and Mosquito Attack! A Norwegian RAF Pilot at War (Fonthill Media).

FORMAT

234 x 156 mm - paperback - 208 pages - 80 black-and-white photographs

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RAF Acklington: Guardian of the Northern Skies

Product no.: 978-1-78155-622-1
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  • Based on original and unpublished records and documentation
  • Superbly illustrated with many photographs never seen in print
  • Appendix with detailed list of all units based at RAF Acklington


At the beginning of the Second World War, RAF Acklington was the most important fighter station in north-east England. It initially started life in 1938 as a training base for RAF aircrews but with the outbreak of hostilities against Germany, it was given the role of protecting the skies over Newcastle and its important industrial heartland.

Its Spitfires and Hurricanes were soon in action against Luftwaffe bombers and many of the earliest raids of the war took place over this part of Britain. Due to the importance of this region with its major ports and industries, it continued to attract the attention of enemy bombers long after the Battle of Britain had been won.

By late 1940, most attacks took place after dark and RAF Acklington became the host for night fighter squadrons. Unlike many military airfields, it did not close when hostilities ceased. Initially, it reverted to its training role but in 1957, it again became the base for fighter aircraft. The airfield spent its last years as 6 Flying Training School but due to defence cuts, it became surplus to requirements and closed completely by the early 1970s.

THE AUTHOR

Malcolm Fife is a professional photographer with a strong interest in history. His first published articles were illustrated features for the Scots Magazine. This was followed by his book The Nor Loch-Scotland’s Lost Loch, a history of the body of water that once existed underneath Edinburgh Castle. After this, he wrote a number of publications on individual airfield histories followed by an account of Scottish aerodromes in the First World War. British Airship Bases of the Twentieth Century is Fife’s first book for Fonthill Media.

FORMAT

248 x 172 mm - paperback - 288 pages - 106 black-and-white photographs
 

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History of the de Havilland Vampire

Product no.: 978-1-78155-616-0
Cover price £27.50
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  • A wide-ranging history of the Vampire throughout its 46-year service history with the RAF, Fleet Air Arm and twenty-nine foreign air forces. A story that is of interest to aviation historians and those with a fascination in early jet aircraft, which also includes a new lease of life on the Warbirds circuit
  • Comprehensive appendices covering serial allocations, production, export details and preserved airframes
  • Gloriously illustrated throughout with a varied and interesting selection of images, many previously unpublished
  • Throughout its career, the Vampire collected many notable firsts: the first jet fighter to cross the Atlantic, the first to land on an aircraft carrier, and the first jet trainer in which students qualified for their ‘Wings’


The de Havilland Vampire was the second of the RAF’s first-generation, post-Second World War jet fighters to enter service. It began life as an interceptor but was soon retasked in the day fighter/ground attack roles with the 2nd Tactical Air Force in Germany from 1948 to 1954 and with the RAF’s Middle and Far East Air Forces. Throughout its 46-year career, it collected many notable firsts: it was the first jet fighter to cross the Atlantic; the first jet to land on an aircraft carrier; and the first jet trainer on which student pilots qualified for their ‘Wings’.

In addition to playing a full part in the RAF’s order of battle during the 1940s and 1950s, the Vampire also served with the Fleet Air Arm and became an export success story for the British aircraft industry with hundreds sold to air forces worldwide. For a brief period during the 1950s, the Vampire formed the backbone of the RAF’s night-fighter force and between 1952 and 1967, the Vampire trainer was responsible for a steady flow of trained pilots for the RAF, Royal Navy and foreign air forces.

This comprehensive history covers the Vampire’s development and operational service. It has been written with the full co-operation of the manufacturer, MoD, RAF and other world air forces, mixing narrative and technical detail with vivid personal accounts from those involved with the aircraft. Comprehensive appendices include technical specifications, production details, serials and export details. It is also lavishly illustrated and includes more than one story of encounters with UFOs by RAF Vampire pilots.

THE AUTHOR

David Watkins is a former member of the RAF and a keen aviation historian. His previous books include A History of RAF Chivenor, The de Havilland Vampire and Venom, 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron, RAuxAF and A History of RAF Aerobatic Teams From 1920.

FORMAT

248 x 172 mm - paperback - 384 pages - 316 black-and-white photographs
 

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Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom: Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second

Product no.: 978-1-78155-603-0
Cover price £20.00
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  • The first comprehensive account of Danish men and women in Allied air forces during the Second World War
  • Detailed and extensively researched with previously untold stories of valour and the horrors of war
  • Handsomely illustrated with high-quality photographs


On 9 April 1940, German forces invaded Denmark. Within hours and without a real fight, the government capitulated, co-operating with the Nazis in order to secure as much self-determination as possible. Not everybody accepted the surrender. Abroad, Danes mobilised to fight back. Men and women – whether they had escaped from Denmark, been involuntarily exiled by the occupation, or were emigrants – turned up at recruiting offices around the world, volunteering to fight for Denmark’s freedom.

More than 250 volunteered for the Allied air forces. Britain’s Victory, Denmark’s Freedom: Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War offers the most comprehensive account of the Danish contribution to the Allied air forces of the Second World War ever written. It covers Danish pilots in Britain, Germany and Coastal Command; their involvement in the air wars of the Mediterranean and the Balkans; service in the Far East and Pacific; as well as Danes on the ground, often far from the frontline.

THE AUTHOR

Mikkel Plannthin was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1973. He has been researching Danes in the Royal Air Force and other Second World War Allied air forces for nearly fifteen years, and has a unique knowledge on this subject. He is the author of a number of aviation articles in Danish and the creator of danishww2pilots.dk, a website commemorating these men and women.

FORMAT

234 x 156 mm - hardback - 272 pages - 30 black-and-white photographs

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Battle for the Channel: The First Month of the Battle of Britain 10 July-10 August 1940

Product no.: 978-1-78155-625-2
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  • A gripping account of the Battle of Britain as it was viewed in 1940 by the aircrews of both sides, the press – often for propaganda purposes – and the public
  • Many personal accounts and memories of the battle
  • With tabulations of aircrew and aircraft lost by the RAF and Luftwaffe, and with known combat claims made by both sides in this titanic struggle that changed the course of history
  • Illustrated with new and rarely seen photographs


10 July, the official first day of the Battle of Britain, witnessed increased aerial activity over the English Channel and along the eastern and southern seaboards of the British coastline. The main assaults by ever-increasing formations of Luftwaffe bombers, escorted by Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighters, were initially aimed at British merchant shipping convoys plying their trade of coal and other materials from the north of England to the southern ports.

These attacks often met with increasing success although RAF Spitfires and Hurricanes endeavoured to repel the Heinkel He 111s, Dornier Do 17s and Junkers Ju 88s, frequently with ill-afforded loss in pilots and aircraft. Within a month, the English Channel was effectively closed to British shipping.

Only a change in the Luftwaffe’s tactics in mid-August, when the main attack changed to the attempted destruction of the RAF’s southern airfields, allowed convoys to resume sneaking through without too greater hindrance.

THE AUTHOR

Brian Cull has been writing Second World War aviation history for the past twenty-five years and has more than twenty-five titles to his credit, many of which have been highly acclaimed. These include the Bloody Shambles series, Hurricanes over Malta, Spitfires over Malta, Twelve Days in May, Diver! Diver! Diver!, Gladiator Ace, Screwball Beurling, and for Fonthill Media – Fighters over the Aegean, First of the Few and Blenheims over Greece and Crete. Cull lives with his wife Val in Suffolk.

FORMAT
234 x 156 mm - hardback - 352 pages - 32 black-and-white photographs

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Patrolling the Cold War Skies: Reheat Sunset

Product no.: 978-1-78155-596-5
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  • A RAF pilot’s view of the Cold War, which conveys the excitement, danger and comedy of flying during that momentous historic period. Crafted to satisfy all aviation enthusiasts, novice and professional alike
  • The Cold War is the hot topic of the moment. This book covers 28 years of patrolling the Cold War skies in reconnaissance Canberras and air defence Phantoms and Tornados
  • Flying in the heat of East Africa and the Far East to the cold of Norway and the Falkland Islands, this essential book covers a huge period of relevant global and military aviation history
  • Handsomely illustrated with high-quality images from an acclaimed international aviation photographer and the author’s personal collection


Patrolling the Cold War Skies: Reheat Sunset is of adventure and daredevil hijinks set within the framework of the Cold War and told through the lens of the RAF ‘Pilot’s Flying Log Book’. Philip Keeble’s logbooks cover ten types of aircraft from 1965 when he learned to fly in a Chipmunk trainer – with headings ‘Death Dive’, ‘How to (Nearly) Lose a Student’ and ‘Stratospheric’ – right through to flying the Bulldog, Jet Provost, Folland Gnat, Canberra, Jaguar, Hawk, Hunter, Phantom and Tornado F3 fighter in 1994.

These true tales are told as anecdotal yarns, ones that put flesh on those logbook bare bones in an exciting, amusing and self-deprecating way. Gripping narratives stir up memories of escapades and the events leading up to them. Exciting sorties, dangerous emergencies, stupid moments, funny occurrences and operational practices, but also stories that contain the balance and contrast of operating in the Cold War. The author got into more than a few scrapes. He flew very high, very low and very fast with a foolhardiness that at times was culpable and shocking...

THE AUTHOR

Philip Keeble was born in 1947 in Beaconsfield, England. Educated in Slough and Fareham, he started work as an industrial chemist before leaving to joining the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary. In 1965, Keeble was accepted for pilot training with the RAF and had a 28-year career in the service, flying reconnaissance and combat aircraft in a wide range of overseas theatres. On leaving the forces, he became a civilian military simulator instructor in the UK and Saudi Arabia. He was ordained as a deacon in Wales in 2013 (retired).

FORMAT
248 x 172 mm - hardback - 288 pages - 65 colour photographs

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249 at Malta: RAF’s Top-Scoring Fighter Squadron

Product no.: 978-1-78155-554-5
Cover price £25.00
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  • All known combat claims and losses
  • Many personal accounts and memories of the battle
  • Illustrated with new and rarely seen photographs


By the end of 1941, following its participation in the Battle of Britain, 249 Squadron was posted to Malta. Having been informed that its pilots would be required to fly from the deck of an aircraft carrier, intensive practice flights took place with two Hurricanes fitted with long-range tanks, making shortened take-off runs from an airfield runway. The following month, having been ferried to Gibraltar, the aircraft were off-loaded on to the Ark Royal and all twenty safely reached Malta – an area dubbed a fighter pilot’s paradise.

This was the beginning of 249’s adventure in the defence of Malta. Spitfires would follow early in 1942 and by the time it moved to a new theatre of operations, 249 had claimed 245 air victories, producing ace pilots such as ‘Screwball’ Beurling, ‘Laddie’ Lucas, Johnny Plagis and John Lynch to name but a few. There was seldom a shortage of targets as the Luftwaffe endeavoured to flatten the defences and destroy the small air force, in which it failed, but only narrowly.

THE AUTHORS

Brian Cull has been writing Second World War aviation history for the past twenty-five years and has in excess of twenty-five titles to his credit. These include the Bloody Shambles series, Hurricanes over Malta, Spitfires over Malta, Twelve Days in May, Diver! Diver! Diver!, Gladiator Ace, Screwball Beurling, and Fighters over the Aegean, Blenheims over Greece and Crete and First of the Few are a series of books for Fonthill Media.

Frederick Galea is an aviation enthusiast and researcher/writer and is Malta’s War Museum Association’s honorary secretary and newsletter editor.

FORMAT

234 x 156 mm - hardback - 256 pages - 61 black-and-white photographs

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Time Flies Reflections of a Fighter Pilot

Product no.: 978-1-78155-584-2
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  • An insight into the daily exploits of a fighter pilot during the Cold War and beyond, both from the cockpit and in command
  • Reflections on high level staff meetings, including briefing the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Heseltine, during the formative years of the Eurofighter project
  • Details of commanding a Tornado F3 squadron during Gulf War One
  • Memoirs of flying with the Red Arrows, including the 1993 tour of the USA
  • Profusely illustrated with high-quality photographs


Time Flies: Reflections of a Fighter Pilot is a detailed insight into the exploits of a RAF pilot from the cockpit and in command in the air, on land and at sea. Covering interceptions of Soviet bombers off Iceland to defending Saudi Arabia in Gulf War One, this gripping biography follows his thirty-year career operating Lightnings defending the UK, F-4 Phantoms from HMS Ark Royal and defending the Inner German Border (IGB) as well as commanding a Tornado F3 squadron, including a deployment to Saudi Arabia in Gulf War One.

The author formulated the operational requirements for the Eurofighter Typhoon, flew with the Red Arrows, served as the deputy station commander at RAF Leuchars and led the Tornado F3 four-ship flypast over Edinburgh Castle as the Stone of Destiny was returned to Scotland on 30 November 1996. A serious study for the aviation enthusiast and military historian, this work is also sumptuously illustrated with rich and candid photographs to inspire modellers.

THE AUTHOR

David Hamilton gained his pilot’s licence aged seventeen. In the RAF, he flew Lightnings, F-4 Phantoms and commanded a Tornado F3 squadron. Also, Hamilton supervised and flew with the Red Arrows. He held staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence, NATO Headquarters and air advisor to General Sir Peter de la Billière after the first Gulf War. He took early retirement as a group captain and spent twelve years on the Eurofighter project with the defence industry, both BAE and EADS.

FORMAN
248 x 172 mm - hardback - 192 pages - 32 colour photographs

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Messerschmitt Bf 109: The Design and Operational History

Product no.: 978-1-78155-586-6
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  • Covers development, production and service of the Bf 109 with the Luftwaffe
  • Includes details of the Bf 109 in service with every arm that operated the fighter, including post-war operations
  • With technical descriptions, every production variant is described
  • Includes details on prototypes, unbuilt projects and survivors, static and airworthy
  • Rare and unrecorded opinions of Allied pilots on the pros and cons of the Bf 109
  • Handsomely illustrated with high-quality photographs spanning over 80 years


More than 33,000 Messerschmitt Bf 109s were built between 1935 and 1945, making it the second-most produced warplane of all time. The Bf 109 was the mainstay of Luftwaffe fighter squadrons and the favoured choice of most fighter aces. Bf 109 pilots accounted for thousands of Allied aircraft with individual scores for some aces such as Erich Hartmann (352 kills) and Gerhard Barkhorn (301 kills) claiming hundreds of downed aircraft. The iconic Bf 109 saw service in Poland, the invasion of France and the Battle of Britain in 1940. Although gradually becoming obsolete, the Bf 109 remained in large-scale production until the end of the war.

Apart from the Luftwaffe, Bf 109s were supplied to more than ten countries, including Finland, Hungary and Rumania. After the war, development and production continued in Czechoslovakia and Spain as the Avia S-199 and Hispano HA-1112 respectively, the latter powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Incredibly, the state of Israel operated Czech-built Avia S-199s during its War of Independence in 1948-1949.

THE AUTHOR

Jan Forsgren has an MA in History and specialises in Sweden’s relationship with Cambodia from 1975 to 1989; other academic merits include international law and archival science. He enjoys travelling, aviation history and previously contributed towards Fonthill Media with the critically acclaimed Sinking the Beast: The RAF 1944 Lancaster Raids Against Tirpitz and The Junkers Ju 52 Story.

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