For the latest Library book reviews, see below

The Library

The Club Library is entered through the Churchill Bar on the ground floor. It was started in 2002 following a very large donation of books by the aviation artist Frank Wootton. The collection has steadily grown and there are now over 3000 books related to aviation and the story of the Royal Air Force from the First World War to the present day.

 

The Catalogue

The books are arranged in broad categories, including Aircraft, Commands, Squadrons, Operational Techniques, and Campaigns (the two World Wars and subsequent operations, up to the present day).

The shelves now include books on The Suez Crisis, The Cold War, Vietnam, Korea, The Falklands, The Gulf War, Afghanistan and Libya, to mention but a few. There is also a large collection of biographies and memoirs, and a new section containing lighter reading and fiction.

The catalogue is directly accessible in the Library from the two members' computers there. Searching is simple, and instructions are set out on the computer desks. For those who prefer to browse, there are diagrams on those desks and by the door to the Churchill Bar, showing the locations of the various categories.

Download the Categories

Using the Library

Procedure for borrowing books
Members are welcome to borrow books at any time. The Library is managed by a small team of volunteers, some of whom are normally there on Thursdays from 11.00 a.m. until 3.00pm, and they will be happy to demonstrate the borrowing procedure. Fill in a Loan Sheet (to be found on the Librarians’ desk) and place it in the box provided. Books should be returned within one month. 

When returning books by hand, please remember to return them to Reception, not to the Library. The librarians will collect and re-shelve them when on duty. If you are not revisiting the Club, please return books by post.

Members staying at the Club
You may borrow books to read in your room. No loan form is needed – simply return the books to Reception.

If you would like to suggest a book for purchase or have a query, please email in the first instance library@rafclub.org.uk  
Whilst the Library team welcome offers of donations, please do not send books until the librarians have confirmed that they do not duplicate works already in the library.

 

Download the Catalogue

Latest Book Reviews

Bolts from The Blue by Sir Richard Johns

It is rare that a retired  Royal Air Force Chief of the Air Staff writes such a detailed auto-biography of his RAF career and we are very fortunate that Sir Richard Johns decided to do so. The book will appeal to students of Air Power, military aviation enthusiasts as well as pilots wanting to know what it was like to fly and operate modern fighter aircraft.

He had a varied career from flying Javelins, Hunters, commanding a Harrier squadron, teaching HRH Prince Charles to fly the jet Provost at Cranwell, station commander RAF Gutersloh, director of operations in Operation Granby in the first Gulf War, C in C HQ Allied Forces North West Europe to name but a few appointments. He was clearly a great judge of what was required from the RAF at every level he served. It is fascinating to follow his elevation in the corridors of power and his memory of names, dates and events on the way is absolutely astounding. Incidentally as a bonus to all his other attributes he was obviously an accomplished pilot.

His time as Chief of the Air Staff finished comparatively recently in 2000 so his account of the Labour Government’s first defence review is still fairly topical and it is very rare to have such a first- hand and unbiassed account of the interplay between the Services and the politicians with the formation of policy.

Every reader will relate to certain accounts of the book but for me the description of the challenges and hazards of flying the Harrier is probably the best there is. It is difficult to think of a better addition to the RAF Library than Sir Richard John’s book. Purchase from the Club's online Shop here Tony Blackman, November 2018