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The Royal Navy Wasp (ePub)

An Operational and Retirement History

Aviation Colour eBooks Maritime > Naval > Royal Navy Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Cold War Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Falklands Photographic eBooks

By Larry Jeram-Croft, Terry Martin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 30.5 MB (.epub)
Illustrations: 40
ISBN: 9781526721150
Published: 25th February 2019


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This book tells the story of the first helicopter in the world designed from the outset to be deployed at sea, in Destroyers and Frigates. It is primarily based on the words of those who operated it. Designed from the outset to cope with the restricted space of a warship both for stowage and flight operations it proved an immediate success. Its original role was to act as a weapon carrier to launch torpedoes and depth charges on submarine contacts out of range of the parent ship’s weapons range. Soon, it also took on a second primary role of air to surface attack using wire guided missiles. The flexibility of the machine was such that it was able to conduct a plethora of secondary roles from visual search to collecting the all-important ship’s mail. Wherever the Royal Navy was deployed on operations a Wasp was there. The book has accounts of operations around the world particularly during the Cold War of the Seventies and the Falklands War where amongst other things it had the honour of being the first RN platform ever, to fire a guided missile at a surface target.

However the story doesn’t end there. Although the aircraft went out of service in the Royal Navy in 1988, it continued to operate with other navies around the world. To this day there are still several airworthy examples flying. The second part of the book gives accounts of these machines and brings the story of the Wasp completely up to date.

The work is an overall good read, made more interesting with the inclusion of firsthand accounts.

Air & Space Power History

As featured by

Vulcan News, Spring 2020

This volume is a very enjoyable and absorbing read. It’s refreshing to read about the Wasp in its retirement, an aspect that’s not covered in many rotary wing books. Knowing these amazing little helicopters are being lovingly maintained and kept flying by dedicated owners and crews is extremely heartening. There seems to be a renaissance of flying historic helicopters in the UK and the Wasps can be regarded as the pioneers here too.

Read the full review here

Flight Line Book Review

As featured by

Modelbouwmagazine, April/May 2020

As featured by

Air Fan, February/March 2020

Excellent and enthusiastic history.

Helicopter International, Autumn 2019

A good range of photographs, many from private collections and specially commissioned cartoons which will inspire the modeller. This book is highly recommended.

IPMS Magazine Nov-Dec 19

As featured by

The Aviation Historian, issue no.9

As featured by

Cocardes International, October/November 2019

This is a thoroughly researched, well-written and absorbingly readable book, superbly illustrated to boot, that tells readers absolutely everything they might want to know about this sturdy, versatile and long-serving little flying workhorse. Both authors clearly know the Wasp inside out, to the extent that what they don’t know you could probably write on the back of a postage stamp, but it’s the manner of their telling the story that lets me recommend this book to a readership beyond that of aviation enthusiasts alone.

Reviewed by Alex Manning – Warship World, September/October

Featured in

International Naval Research Organisation

Featured in

Ulster Aviation Society

As featured on Flying in Ireland

Flying in Ireland

The story of the Westland Wasp and its contribution to the Falklands conflict are told in this brilliant history of another remarkable British invention. Superb. The thought that there are several Wasps still in active service around the world is remarkable.

Books Monthly

Featured in

Society of Friends of the Fleet Air Arm

With many excellent photographs, plus some enjoyable cartoons, the book is well-presented, with an attractive format. Former aviators, with or without Wasp experience, will find this an evocative work, capturing the spirit of this extraordinary aircraft and those who flew and maintained it. However, there is also much to engage the general reader, with vivid personal accounts of operations always taking precedence over technical content. The authors are to be commended for producing a highly readable and engaging book, which will interest the aviator and non-specialist alike. In doing so, they also have performed a valuable service in recording a fascinating chapter in the history of British naval aviation.

Read the full review here

The Naval Review

As featured by

Airfix Model World, July 2019

Well illustrated with many photographs and some cartoons it provides good nostalgic reading for all those who served during the ‘Wasp’ era.

John Roberts, 2019

I have found this book to be a very interesting read. I found the stories from operations to be very compelling and those centred around operations in the Falklands in particular were my favourite part of the book. Whilst it is true that this is an aviation history book more than anything else there are still some great reference images for modellers alongside the fantastic stories and I don’t think the level of detail the book goes into should be off-putting to anyone with an interest in military, naval or aviation subjects.

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KitsandBits Blog, Mark Dale

This is an outstanding history of an innovative, versatile and much-loved little aircraft, full of anecdotes from those who flew and maintained it, in peace and war.

Society of Friends of the Fleet Air Arm

This is a book that cannot be missed on the shelves of helicopter and modern aircraft enthusiasts.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

The WASP is a fascinating helicopter with an interesting background and in this book, you gain a new respect for it and the people involved in its development and the pilots who flew it over the years.

It's a well-presented book with some great images, some of which are close ups of components that will be useful for the advanced modeler.

Read the full review here

Vintage Airfix

Exceptionally well written, beautifully produced... very absorbing and extremely well written.

Watch the full video review here

Scale Modelling Now

This hardback book from Pen & Sword will please aviation enthusiasts and Royal Navy historians alike.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

Written by two enthusiasts this book tells of exploits on land and at sea, of the good flights and the not so good flights.

Larry Jeram-Croft spent thirty years in the RN first as an Aircraft Engineer then as a helicopter pilot, flew in the Falklands war and received the Queens Commendation for Search and Rescue duties.

Terry Martin studied medicine and learnt to fly at the University Air Squadron. Qualifying as a doctor and a pilot within two months of each other he spent ten years on active service with the RAF followed by 17 years as a reservist. He has owned several Wasps since 2000.

A very interesting read especially for all aircraft enthusiasts.

Ton Class Association

'Pen & Sword Books have some great new releases for your book shelf. We have picked out the best'

Waterside, 10th April 2019 (pages 52 & 53)

The text reads well and is comprehensive for the subject. The standard of illustration is first rate, and largely in full colour, with images reproduced through the text. The Wasp enjoyed a long and successful service life although the single engine did present problems from time to time. At the end of operational service, the Wasp is still operated in flying condition and as static display in aviation museums, this retirement life is also well detailed.

Read the full review here


I was an operational Royal Navy Wasp pilot from 1983-1986 and was Flight Commander of HMS Plymouth, Diomede and Aurora. I then was fortunate enough to fly all the Wasps in civilian hands as the CAA Rotary Wing Test Pilot. I enjoyed reading this book by a former colleague which captures the nature of the aircraft, and how it was operated, very well. The RN Historic flight is now operating one so we should see examples flying for some years to come. A good book. I will be writing my own book about the type later this year - watch this space!

Christopher Taylor

About Larry Jeram-Croft

Larry Jeram-Croft spent thirty years in the Royal Navy. He trained as an Aircraft Engineer and then as a helicopter pilot. He was awarded a Queens Commendation for Search and Rescue duties and flew the Lynx of HMS Andromeda during the Falklands War. Retiring from the RN in 2000 as a Commander, he worked in industry before retiring for a second time. He then bought a yacht and lived in the Caribbean with Fiona, his wife, before returning to the UK to write. He now lives in Somerset where, apart from writing, he continues to fail to hit a golf ball with any skill whatsoever.

About Terry Martin

Terry Martin, despite growing up in Portsmouth and in a navy family, learned to fly with the University Air Squadron at RAF Abingdon whilst at Medical school in London. His original ambition of being a Medical Officer Pilot in the RAF would make it possible to fly and be a doctor at the same time and he qualified as a pilot and in medicine within two months of each other in 1981. Terry spent the next ten years on active RAF duty followed by a further 17 years as a reservist in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force seeing action in both Gulf wars. Terry became a Flight Medical Officer and received training in the De Havilland Chipmunk, Scottish Aviation Bulldog and the British Aircraft Corporation Jet Provost. After later dalliances with the British Aersopace Hawk and then an eye-opening flight at the controls of a two seater Harrier T4A, it was the latter that convinced Terry that VSTOL and hovering were much more fun than flying fast! Realising that he was past his sell-by date for Harrier training, he learned to fly the Westland Aerospatiale Gazelle at RAF Shawbury, followed by later experience on the Westland Aerospatiale Puma with 230 Squadron at RAF Gütersloh in Germany and 1563 Flight (33 Squadron) in Belize. During his twenty nine years in the Royal Air Force, Terry reached the rank of Wing Commander and, in addition to aerospace medicine, he specialised in emergency medicine, intensive care medicine and aeromedical evacuation. He now works as a consultant in anaesthesia and critical care as well as being the Medical Director of an international air ambulance company based in the heart of ‘Wasp country’, the southwest of England. Terry has privately owned and flown several Wasps since 2000 and still flies as a display pilot in the UK.

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