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RAF in Camera: 100 Years on Display (Hardback)

Aviation > Post-WWII Aviation Aviation > RAF in Camera Aviation > Royal Air Force Aviation > WWI Aviation > WWII Military > Post-WWII Warfare Photographic Books WWI > Photographic Books WWII > Photographic Books

By Keith Wilson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 472
Illustrations: 450 colour & mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781526752185
Published: 28th July 2022


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In July 2018, the nation looked skyward over Buckingham Palace in awe as the Royal Air Force celebrated its first 100 years with a spectacular parade and flypast over London. This event demonstrated a very different perspective of the RAF; well away from its operational commitments.

The expertise and precision of those RAF pilots flying in some of the most famous aircraft in the world has been displayed since the very first days of military aviation. The Inter-War period was dominated by the Hendon Air Pageants; where many aircraft made their public appearance. Post-war, it was the turn of the jet display teams, with the Black Arrows and Firebirds’ laying the foundations for the aerial mastery that is today’s Red Arrows.

The various anniversaries have seen a growth in special artwork being applied to aircraft flown by squadrons celebrating key anniversaries. This is covered in considerable detail within this volume.

On the ground, the RAF is represented at major celebrations and key public events by the Queen’s Colour Squadron, which demonstrates its world-famous continuity drill routine while providing a guard of honour for visiting Heads of States. They are frequently accompanied with the Service’s own bands; which have grown from those created by its squadrons over a century ago.

From the Berlin Airlift in 1948; to flood relief in Kenya; and the international relief effort in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma in 2017; the RAF has been deployed overseas in response to numerous international crises. But aid operations have also been mounted at home. Under the banner of ‘Military Aid to the Civil Powers’, helicopters and aircraft have airlifted food and supplies to areas cut off by severe weather; Sea King helicopters have rescued villagers stranded by flash flooding in Boscastle; while Chinook helicopters have assisted with the rebuilding of flood defences breached by severe floods across the country.

The golden age of record-breaking also features in this book. From long-range flights to South Africa and Australia; the Schneider Trophy triumph; speed records in the jet age; along with altitude records with pilots in special pressure suits; the RAF has demonstrated its reputation as a truly pioneering Air Arm.

Keith Wilson takes us on a journey through the Royal Air Force’s public persona during their 100 year history. All landmark events are referenced in this thorough, well-researched and image-packed publication.

As with the three previous releases, this new addition to the In Camera series is sure to be regarded as something of a collector’s edition and a real enthusiast’s favourite.

The book provides a clearly written and informative text, which is joined by carefully chosen and beautifully printed images that will be a
valuable reference.

Overall this is a fascinating and enjoyable volume on one of the UK’s most valuable assets, which has something for any aviation enthusiast.

Scale Aircraft Modelling

As featured on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

This book follows the pattern set by the author’s three previous ‘RAF in Camera’ essays which were individually dedicated to the RAF in the 1950s,’60s and ‘70s.

Unreservedly recommended.

RAF Historical Society Journal

This book, but especially also the whole series is a must-have for each fan of the RAF and British aviation…like me. I am curious to see if there will be a follow up.

Read the full review here


This is a stunning book, a coffee-table book, although it's a book you will want to look at. Beautiful photographs from the earliest days of the RAF to the present day in photographs. Superb.

Books Monthly

Stunning - in every sense

As a kid I was seriously into aircraft - or more accurately I was into looking at images of aircraft, and in particular the design of them (oddly enough commercial aircraft left me cold!). This truly superb book has given me that same sense of wonder, excitement and thrills as I enjoyed as a 9 year old!

The book is broken down into chapters such as Pageants and Parades, Faster, higher, further, Royal connections etc, each one showing a photographic timeline of airaft of the RAF across the 100 year span. Needless to say the image quality of the very earliest pale in comparison to the more recent stuff, but for atmosphere, nostalgia and a feeling of 'seat of their pants' flying those early teens photographs are pure gold. What I especially enjoyed is the various birds eye views of airfields of those vintage days, with a huge mixture of known, and not so well known aircarft all cheek by jowl.

The scale of some of the planes is almost staggering. The tiny power of even the biggest engines back then meant a proportionately huge pair of wings were required to generate lift - in some photos a single wheel totally dwarfes the ground crew who are stood next to it. How any of these giants ever flew is beyond me.

Those early days are equalled (in my view) by the golden period of the 1950s. I was lucky enough to visit airshows in the early/mid 70s when you could witness a lightning, a Vulcan, a meteor and a Vampire, all flying by at seemingly head height, on full power - never to be forgotten, that experience is recaptured in the stunning air to air photography in this book.

The recent photographs include stealth planes, fuel tankers, Hercules etc - nothing has been left out.
The text is very well written, with an intro page or two for each chapter, but a lot more information and detail is in the blurbs for every photograph.

Author Keith Wilson has written a perfect tribute to the RAF, and the image quality and excellent print and binding make this a must have book for me - all 470 pages of it!

5.0 out of 5 stars

Timothy Campbell, Photographica World (December 22 Issue) & Amazon Review UK

It is a large, fully illustrated book which gives a lot of value at nearly 500 pages. This is not a book you pick up and consume in an afternoon, but one which can be enjoyed over a much longer period.

Read the full review here

Airport Spotting

This book is a fantastic look at the RAF and the way in which it celebrates and promotes itself to the world.

Read the full review here

The History Fella

It is really a fantastic piece for any aircraft enthusiast.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene

Heaps of colour scheme inspiration lie within this volume, which is larger than previous editions at 472 pages - the captions providing just enough information without taking over, allowing the photos to do their job.

Ultimately, though, this is a handsome reference book and every bit as good as the previous editions. It will undoubtedly prompt thoughts of building on different themes, or even just encourage you to portray a particular aircraft livery you hadn’t considered before. One thing is guaranteed… even a quick glimpse of these pages and you’ll be searching through aftermarket decal lists like there’s no tomorrow.

Read the full review here

Key Model World

As Featured In

Model Aircraft Monthly, October/November 2021
 Keith Wilson

About Keith Wilson

KEITH WILSON has been actively involved in aviation publishing for more than 35 years and is a prolific author. Keith is probably best known for his striking air-to-air images in Pilot magazine, during which time he has photographed almost 2,000 different aircraft; featuring a very broad range of subjects, from gliders, microlight, vintage and veteran, aerobatic and general aviation subjects right through to high altitude research aircraft, business jets, commercial jets and military fast jets.
Keith is the author of RAF in Camera: 1950s, RAF in Camera: 1960s and RAF in Camera: 1970s - all published by Pen and Sword Aviation.

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