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