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RAF in Camera: 1960s (Hardback)

Aviation > RAF in Camera Aviation > Royal Air Force

By Keith Wilson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 320
Illustrations: 250 colour & mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781473837768
Published: 3rd August 2015



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The 'Swinging Sixties' was a remarkable decade. For the Royal Air Force it was a most interesting period in their history, representing a period of base closures, contraction and a significant change in equipment - especially in the level of technology operated.

In 1960, all three of the V-bombers - Valiant, Vulcan and Victor - were in service. The English Electric Lightning established a firm place in British aviation history by being the first single-seat fighter designed to exceed the speed of sound in level flight. Within Transport Command, the Britannia C.1 was operating alongside the Comet C.2, providing an excellent strategic transport capability. The Comet C.4 would enter service in 1962, the VC-10 C.1 in July 1966 and the Belfast C.1 by the end of 1966.

During the decade, the RAF celebrated its 50th Anniversary, having been formed on 1 April 1918. They also came to be embroiled in a number of conflicts, while still playing their part (alongside the British Army and the Royal Navy) in policing a number of territories and theaters including Malaya, Indonesia, Cyprus, Kenya, Rhodesia, Aden, Libya, Bermuda and Anguilla in the West Indies.

Here, Keith Wilson takes us on a richly illustrated journey through the decade, with each chapter focusing on a specific year and relaying all the fascinating events and highlights that characterized it. This is a colourful and insightful history, told with narrative flair and a clear passion for the subject matter at hand.

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RAF News

These volumes are beautifully produced and are ideal for browsing on a wide variety of subjects and localities. Highly recommended.

Air-Britain Military Aviation Historical Quarterly March 2016

If you want to wallow in nostalgia for a few hours, these books would be perfect.

Sky & Bullets - Paul Smiddy

While the text is informative and important, it is the magnificent photographs that really grab the reader's attention.
These are two beautifully produced volumes and we mane no apology for saying again: the photographs are wonderful! Highly recommended!

Jets Magazine Dec 15

Two amazing new books covering the golden years of the RAF.
The simple joy with both is that a high proportion of the excellent photos are previously unpublished, and offer a wealth of aircraft nostalgia and colour scheme inspiration. These superb books should not be missed by any RAF fan.

Airfix Model World Magazine Dec 15

Two books of each around 300 pages full with my favourite pictures!

Splendid books…without exaggeration. When you see the front pages with the formation of Hunters and Lightnings, than you are straight back in those years in which an enormous variety of planes flew within the RAF. The Second World War had only just come to an end. Not many countries can match the numbers and variety of the RAF. Keith Wilson was also inspired by it and therefore conducted these two books which just are a feast for the eye.

Of each year, the most beautiful pictures of special moments, like maiden flights, inspections by the queen(!), great formation of planes and much more. Almost all pictures come from the archives of the Air Historical Branch and Keith Wilson must have been there for many many hours, because to me these are really the most beautiful and unique pictures. They come in all kinds of sizes, black and white as well as colour and on good paper. More colour of course when going further in time. Wish I had been a photographer in that time!

Each chapter in the books covers a year and starts with a summarized and good readable overview of the most important events in that year. All pictures that follow come with good interesting descriptions that tell something about the background of the picture. The author has given real attention to this. At the back of the 50’s book are a few appendixes that show how many planes the RAF had in operation.

Keith Wilson really made a page turner with these books. This is how you make aviation books! On the back cover it says that more books will follow in this series. Count me in!


Long-standing contributor to Pilot, air-to-air photographer and writer Keith Wilson, has produced two compelling illustrated books on the history of the RAF in the 1950's and 60's. Not only do they contain a unique collection of images that chart the changing face of the RAF from the beginning to the end of each decade, but they also provide a narrative that highlights specific events and outlines the development of the service in the wider context of what was going on in the country and the rest of the world at the time.

Wilson's knowledge and passion for aviation lifts these books from being mere catalogues of the RAF's post-war years into fascinating records of how military aircraft and their roles changed over time.

The images in the books have been given carefully researched and extended captions, containing the most salient information about the aircraft types depicted, as well as where and when each photograph was taken. Each of the books' chapters covers one year and there are appendices giving extra information in chart form.

Both books finish with a collection of RAF recruitment posters from the period that hark back to simpler time in advertising.

Singly or together, these books would make excellent Christmas presents, not just for anyone who was involved with the RAF in those two decades, or who has a particular interest in the military history of this country, but anyone who experienced the twenty years of cultural change that brought us into the modern ear and wants an insight into what was shaping world events at the time.


The books beautifully illustrate the RAF's aircraft across two decades that saw the World War Two classics leaving service, the Cold War greats, including the V-bombers emerge, and the introduction into service of the Mach 2 fighter. Individually or as a set, they have tremendous appeal.

Aviation News

From the hand of famous aviation photographer Keith Wilson are two extremely sturdy, large-format bound books on the British Air Force.
The reader will get a unique insight into the ins and outs of military aviation in these periods.

Piloot en Vliegtuig Magazine

Numerous captioned black-and-white photographs illustrate these year-by-year chronicles of key decades in the Royal Air Force's history which saw the service introduction of many new military jet aircraft types, within the context of the development of thermonuclear weapons during what became known as the 'Missile Era' and overseas operations in Malaya, Indonesia, Cyprus, Kenya, Rhodesia, Aden and Libya, among other countries.

Aeronautical Society
 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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