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RAF College, Cranwell: A Centenary Celebration (Hardback)

We Seek the Highest

Aviation Royal Air Force 20th Century

By Roger Annett, Foreword by Sir Sandy Wilson KCB (retired)
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 376
ISBN: 9781526712189
Published: 30th October 2019

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We Seek the Highest has been the motto of the thousands of Officer Cadets who, over ten decades, have passed through the rigorous training regime at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, Lincolnshire. The words embody the College ethos: to strive to reach the tough standards demanded by the RAF, in the air and on the ground.

This book tells the 100-year story from the point of view of the Officer Cadets themselves. The College was founded in 1919 – some eighteen months after the birth of the RAF itself – with the aim of providing a cadre of disciplined, highly-trained officers, ready to lead the service through the uncertain post-war and post-Empire times to come. Since then, it has responded continuously to the UK’s political, economic and military requirements.

The RAF Officer Cadets’ world has thus been one of change. The author documents these changes from 1919 to today, overlaying the historical and social scene with the candidly related airborne and ground-based exploits of three-score ex-cadets.

The core narrative is based on the three years at Cranwell of 81 Entry of Flight Cadets, who graduated in July 1962 with thirty-seven jet pilots and eight navigators, having launched a curriculum-changing experiment in degree-level studies.

With a Foreword from an Air Chief Marshal former cadet, 130 illustrations, and a full index, the whole offers a cadets’ tribute to a world-famous military academy on its centenary.

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About Roger Annett

ROGER MARK ANNETT wore the blue of the RAF from 1959 to 1967. During this service he spent two-and-a-half years as co-pilot on a Tactical Transport Squadron, which led to his first book for Pen and Sword, Drop Zone Borneo.


This was followed by three more books on RAF Battlefield Air Supply. Drop Zone Burma is set in the victorious WWII campaign of General Bill Slim’s 14th Army and Lifeline in Helmand focusses on RAF Chinook and Hercules operations in 21st Century Afghanistan. Borneo Boys then takes readers back to the 1960s to chronicle the adventures of youthful first-tour RAF helicopter pilots in Indonesian Confrontation.


This fifth book for Pen and Sword has been prompted by the approaching centenary of the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell. As with all his previous offerings, the author has gathered together an impressive number of willing eye-witnesses (himself included) to give the already worthy story of ten decades the necessary flesh and bones.


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