Heroes and Landmarks of British Aviation, Richard Edwards and Peter J Edwards

Heroes and Landmarks of British Aviation, Richard Edwards and Peter J Edwards

Sub: From Airships to the Jet Age

Most chapters start with a brief biography of a particular figure in British aviation then trace the achievements of the company they founded or the aircraft or technology that they were associated with. Some focus more closely on a particular person, so the chapters on R.J. Mitchell or Herbert Smith stop with their death or retirement from the aircraft industry. Most of the others end with the period of mergers that eventually saw most of the UK aircraft industry consolidated in a single company, now BAE Systems. The process of mergers is covered in the final chapter, which takes us up to the present day.

The individual chapters can be a bit scattergun, leaping from topic to topic and sometimes repeated information in two related places (in the original short biography and later in the company history for example). Despite this they are all interesting, looking at the exploits of some very remarkable people and the contribution they made to British survival and eventual victory in two World Wars. You do become very aware of the important of the wars for most of these companies - the First World War turned a fledgling industry into a major employer, and the Second World War saw the surviving companies expand on a previously unimaginable scale.

This is an interesting approach to a history of the British aircraft industry, focusing on the key figures who helped create the industry or designed some of its most important aircraft. 

1 - Ernest Willows and the Airship over the Channel
2 - Short Brothers and the World's First Aircraft Manufacturer
3 - Geoffrey de Havilland and the Race to Australia
4 - Vincent Richmond, the R101 and the End of British Airship Ambitions
5 - Sir George White and the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company
6 - Thomas Sopwith and the Camels of Kingston
7 - Harry Hawker and the Hawker Hurricane
8 - RJ Mitchell and the Birth of the Spitfire
9 - Herbert Smith and the Development of the Fighter
10 - Charles Rolls, Henry Royce and the Magic of Merlin
11 - Reginald Pierson and the Wellington Saga
12 - Alliott Verdon-Roe and the Road to Lancaster
13 - Frederick Handley Page and the Opening of the Imperial Airways
14 - Charles Fairey and the Journey from Swordfish to Spearfish
15 - Robert Blackburn and the Brough Buccaneers
16 - Robert Watson-Watt and the Prowlers of the Night Sky
17 - Frank Whittle and the Power Jets Company
18 - Harold Wilson and the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977
Appendix 1 - Summary of Main British Aviation, Mergers, Acquisitions and Nationalisations
Appendix 2 - Selected UK Aviation Museums

Author: Richard Edwards and Peter J Edwards
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 257
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2012

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