Notification from Her Majesty the Queen’s government that she would like you to fly her high performance aircraft for the next two years is the sort of stuff aviation-mad teenagers dream about, but this was the story of Guy Clapshaw and a number of young men who were called up for military National Service in the 1950s.
At the time Britain was Great, with the first ascent of Mount Everest, the Coronation and an aircraft industry that was second to none, producing exceptional aircraft like the Comet jet liner, supersonic Hunter jet fighter, V-bombers, Viscount, Gannet and many others. A year later, the author was delighted when he was called up into the Royal Air Force for two years compulsory service.
In this light-hearted book, he describes the progress of a group of young men from various backgrounds (school boys, accountants, gamekeeper, lawyer, bookmaker) learning to become R.A.F. pilots. These diverse characters make the serious business of learning to fly both interesting and amusing. Meet ‘Switches’ Phipps, Big Dick (6ft 8 inches), Deep Depression Dan the hypochondriac meteorologist (the weather didn’t agree with him) and Sonjah, the nubile temptress who can’t keep her eyes and hands off Big Dick.
The academic pace of the course is demanding and the reader is kept wondering how many will last the course and be awarded their wings.