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RAF College, Cranwell: A Centenary Celebration (ePub)

'We Seek the Highest'

Aviation > Royal Air Force P&S History > By Century > 20th Century

By Roger Annett, Foreword by ACM (retired) Sir Sandy Wilson KCB, AFC
Imprint: Air World
File Size: 30.0 MB (.epub)
Pages: 368
Illustrations: 150
ISBN: 9781526712202
Published: 23rd October 2019


£6.99 Print price £30.00

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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.

It is strongly commended, giving as it does a real sense of the emotions and traditions of the RAF College Cranwell, whilst also properly reflecting on the RAF’s vital role today.

Pennant (Forces Pension Society), May 2020

An anecdotal and curious book.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

What a smashing surprise this little gem turned out to be. I am , so glad that Pen & Sword have scored yet again. To be honest this would not normally be my choice of reading material but I am very chuffed to have done so. Far from being a boring description of the building and the headmasters (for it was like a public school for a while) it's a story of a training party of young cadet officers which all of Her Majestys' Forces can relate to.

Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Well written and illustrated, it's an excellent addition to the bookshelf.

Britain at War, Issue 154 – reviewed by Nigel Price

This book offers an in-depth, term-by-term account of daily life for a group of young men who were expected to keep to a gruelling schedule of flying hours and academic classes.

Lincolnshire Life, February 2020

The author, a former graduate of the RAF College, offers a Centennial Celebration history of the college . This book provides a well-researched history of one of the World’s premier military academies. – Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


I was unsure about this one to start as I normally like my raf books to be in the air.
Once started though it was hard to put down.
Reading about the history of this fine establishment did the amazing thing of making me feel like I was there walki g through the place and feeling part of the service and this is all thanks to the loving touch of the authors detailed writing.
Give this book a read and you won't be disappointed.

Read the full review here

Amazon Customer, Richard Domoney-Saunders

For anyone interested in what it was like to attend a unique institution at a key point in a 100 year history, which will be marked by a series of events throughout 2020, it's a fascinating story.

RAF News

Roger's book celebrates one of the very finest RAF colleges in the world - Cranwell, I'm absolutely certain, used to be in Bedfordshire - I went there for a conference of some sort when I worked in the aerospace industry. I don't remember much about it, but reading Roger's book convinces me of its importance in the military history of our country.

Books Monthly

As featured on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

"I was able to relive my relatively enjoyable three years at Cranwell."

Review by

Captain Patrick Tootal, Battle of Britain Association

Recommended... I think you will love it!

Watch the full video review here

Scale Modelling Now

The writer has produced a really good book that is not only a splendid record of an important part of the College's history but is also a thoroughly good read.

Air Vice-Marshal RAF

The book is even more handsome than I expected. The forward and prelude read very well; I now look forward to reading the rest! I feel sure it will be great success. Thank you for bringing back to life those early, critical years.

Group Captain RAF

The book is interesting, historic, absorbing and readable – it should sell well.

Group Captain RAF

My father has started reading We Seek the Highest and will hand it over to me in the coming weeks to allow me to read it! His feedback is very positive – he is enjoying the content and finds the writing style very easy to read and the narrative really draws the reader into the stories.

Wing Commander RAF

Click here to listen to author interview

NOTE: set cursor to 2:32:10

BBC Radio Lincolnshire interview with presenter Carla Greene
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About Roger Annett

Flew with 215 Squadron, co-piloting Argosy transport aircraft deep over jungle terrain in Borneo from 1963 to 65. He served with the RAF from 1962 to 1967 before joining the computer industry. He lives in Buckinghamshire and has previously written Drop Zone Borneo, published by Pen & Sword and has had many articles published in industrial and local magazines.

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