Steve Bond is back with the final volume in this popular series. Unlike his previous three tomes, with their focus on air/rotorcraft, this book is uniquely dedicated to the personnel of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) themselves. Each chapter will concentrate on the memories of contributors who served in a range of roles, including those below the flight deck. Accounts will focus on the everyday life upon an aircraft carrier as well as the extraordinary challenges faced during operations. There is a fascinating chapter covering exchange services with the RAF and other navies including the French and US; and also insight into the Indian navy’s experience with the Sea Hawk and Sea Harrier.
Within the previous volumes, we met some remarkable characters and there is a chapter devoted to people’s memories of them. The closing section entitled ‘Thoughts’ sees contributors reflect on their FAA career with many deeply moving responses and discourses on the future of the service.
The book is heavily illustrated throughout in colour and black and white with personal photographs from the contributors, artwork and tongue-in-cheek cartoons for which the FAA is famous. Volume Four is the perfect conclusion to the ongoing post-war story of a truly astounding branch of the armed forces.
Pls note that, owing to the nature of the event, we cannot guarantee that all books will be signed by all signatories.
Co-authors Steve and Heather Bond and John Davies (Grubstreet Publishing)
Some recent reviews...
“I have to say this is very much the best, ‘leaving the finest to last’ has a Biblical provenance. The inclusion of many of the ‘non-flyers’ is excellent.”
“As I scanned through the pages, my eye caught sight of Jane Cole-Hamilton's - A Pilot's Wife - and I had to stop and read it. From that alone, your book is a winner with me.”
“Ah, those were the days! A great read."
“I've enjoyed all the books in the series and I found Vol.4 a particularly thought provoking read. The more action events featured in the earlier books were lapped up by me. I never tire of reading about other flyers experiences and adventures. Interesting, too, to hear the stories from ground crews and maintainers. Vol.4 was more reflective in character and reminded me of a few more sober moments experienced in my eight years in.”
“All four books in Steve Bond's Fleet Air Arm Boys series have been absorbing, filled with the tales of the activities of various areas of naval aviation life, both ashore and when operating from a carrier. This last volume in the series is more concerned with personal reflections of what that life meant to the various individuals involved, particularly poignant were the reflections by those remembering the lives of those lost in flying accidents, and even more so the consideration of the tragic effects on wives, girlfriends and families left behind as a result. A thought promoting consideration of the drives and motivations of those involved in the ever perilous and rarely seen daily working lives of those Fleet Air Arm Boys and Girls who chose this life as a profession. Eminently readable and thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable.”
Tony Wilson on Amazon, rated 5 stars
“I love Vol.4!! I also suffered a flew flashbacks (all good!)”
“I did enjoy reading it and had a few laughs. It was interesting - no doubt. It was a bit of an odd feeling reading about incidents on the Carriers that I do recollect very well, even to this day. Sad at times. I found the article written by Arun Prakash Indian Navy, particularly interesting, more especially his description of the Russian replacement for the Sea Harrier! John Fords ‘In defence of Aircraft Carriers’ was ‘bang on’.”
Wing Commander Bob Crane. Observer.
893 Sqn Sea Vixen HMS Hermes, RAF Phantom, US Navy VF-171 F-4J USS Forrestal, RAF Tornado F.3
Rear Admiral Tom Cunningham CBE.
Observer. 750 Sqn Sea Prince, 737 Sqn Wessex, 826 Sqn Sea King, 360 Sqn Canberra, 702, 815, 829 Sqns Lynx HMS Amazon, HMS Battleaxe and Gibraltar Flt, Ops Officer HMS Illustrious, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Air and Carriers
Leading Wren Beverley McDermott
Radio Operator, Communications Centre Yeovilton
Leading Airman Richard Dickinson.
Aircraft handler. Portland Wasp and Wessex, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Blake Sea King, 846 Sqn Sea King
Chief Petty Officer John Keenan.
Aircraft Engineering Artificer. 800 and 809 Sqns Buccaneer, HMS Eagle, Hermes, Victorious, 892 Sqn Phantom HMS Ark Royal.801 Sqn Sea Harrier HMS Invincible, 360 Sqn Canberra
Petty Officer Terry McDonald.
Radio and radar technician. Hunter, Sea Hawk, Sea Vampire, Sea Venom Lossiemouth. 899 Sqn Sea Vixen HMS Eagle, 848 Sqn Whirlwind HMS Bulwark
Lieutenant Commander Andrew Murray AFC. Pilot.
705 Sqn Gazelle, 706, 771, 820, 814, 820, 849 Sqns Sea King. 857 Sqn Sea King Afghanistan.. Gulf War 2. HMS Ark Royal, Illustrious, Invincible. 824 Sqn Merlin. Flew last Sea King to HMS Sultan 2018. Deputy Command Flight Safety Officer
Commander Mike Norman OBE AFC.
Aircraft Artificer, 728 Sqn Meteor, 750 Sqn Sea Venom. Observer. 826 Sqn Wessex 3, Wessex 5, Wasp and 814 Sqn Sea King 2. HMS Sheffield XO and 2 i/c, with the ship until it was sunk by an Exocet missile in the Falklands War. Naval and Air Attache in Portugal, Head of Service in Northern Ireland., Head of service in the Falkland Island garrison, Naval Base Cdr in Hong Kong.
Lieutenant Kim Sharman. Pilot.
899 Sqn Sea Vixen HMS Eagle, ‘C’ Sqn A&AEE Sea Vixen, 750 Sqn Sea Prince
Lieutenant Commander Digby Stephenson. Observer.
824 Sqn Sea King HMS Ark Royal, 800 Sqn Buccaneer HMS Eagle, 809 Sqn Buccaneer HMS Ark Royal, US Navy VA42 A-6 USS Nimitz, FRADU Hunter
Leading Wren Catherine Davies van Zoen. Aircraft Mechanic (Airframes and Engines).
Visiting Aircraft Section Yeovilton, Hunter, Canberra, Buccaneer, Phantom, Sea Prince, Sea Devon, Wasp, Whirlwind, Tiger Moth, Swordfish
Publisher: Grub Street Publishing
N.B. Only sales here contribute to keeping heritage aircraft flying