“Black Buck”

Built as a Cold War nuclear bomber, the Vulcan saw action only at the very end of its service life. François Prins has the story of its use in the Falklands. Although the three V-bombers – Valiant, Vulcan and Victor – were intended to counter the threat by the former Soviet Union, two of the […]

Battle of Britain Day

Sunday 15 September 1940 was the day on which massed waves of Luftwaffe aircraft came to attack England expecting little opposition, though were met by a strong force of RAF fighters which hit the enemy formations with might. As dawn broke on 15 September 1940, there was a touch of mist in the air over […]

Messerschmitt Bf 109E cockpit

1 Revi gun sight 2 Clock 3 Magneto switches 4 Altimeter 5 Magnetic compass 6 Boost gauge 7 Air speed indicator 8 Turn and bank indicator 9 RPM gauge 10 Propeller pitch indicator 11 Fuel and oil pressure gauge 12 Undercarriage indicator 13 Fuel contents gauge 14 Oil temperature gauge 15 Coolant temperature gauge 16 […]

For Valour

The heart-rending story behind the award of the Victoria Cross to 18-year-old Canadian pilot Lt Alan Arnett McLeod. As a result of courage shown in the face of combat while at the same time being in the midst of the many dangers encountered while flying the fragile aircraft of the era, it is perhaps not […]

Birth of a legend

The development of the first Spitfire, K5054 On 5 March 1936, a beautiful-looking sleek new monoplane made its first flight from the Supermarine works airfield at Eastleigh in Hampshire – attractive as it may have been, this aircraft was designed to be the leading fighter of its time and intended solely for combat. The Spitfire […]

‘Lancs’ on film

With Peter Jackson’s new ‘take’ on the ‘dam busters’ legend currently in production, Jonathan Falconer looks back to the original – and some might say never-to-be-bettered The Dam Busters – when real RAF bomber pilots flew real Lancasters on camera. For many cinemagoers, The Dam Busters is probably the best-known and loved British war film […]

Enemy coast ahead

In 1944 Wg Cdr Guy Gibson VC DSO* DFC* wrote a fascinating account of his wartime experiences, which was first published in book form in 1946. What follows here are edited extracts taken from his original manuscript that form an article focusing on the famous Dams raid of 16/17 May 1943 – written by the man who formed and led 617 Squadron on this most famous aerial operation. […]