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

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

Product no.: 978-1-78155-609-2
Cover price £18.99
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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  • Comprehensive with exhaustive research from the National Archives, previously unpublished RAF operational record books and many anecdotes from former airmen and officers
  • Gloriously illustrated throughout with a varied and interesting selection of images, many previously unpublished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.


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.


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

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