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I am looking at spending my Christmas  money (already lol ) and I wondered what books that people considered a definitive tome , or if I bought one what would it be?


Avro Lancaster

Avro Manchester

Hawker Hurricane

Bristol Beaufort

Vickers Wellington

Short Stirling

HP Halifax

HP Hampden 

Bristol Beaufighter

Bristol Beaufort

Edited by Gomtuu
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Holmes on the Lancaster - there may be others

Kirby on the Manchester (just re-released)

Mason on the Hurricane (if partly for want of an even better)

Falconer on the Stirling (though he should be more critical, in my opinion, but this is rare among writers on specific types generally.)

Merrick on the Halifax


No single strong book on Beaufort, Beaufighter or Wellington to match those for the types above.  Try Crowood for a reasonable Beaufighter/Wellington but no good single work on the Beaufort beyond the old Ian Allan Special or Air Britain's The Beaufort File.



Edit:  You should also consider the Warpaint series, particularly for this last three.

Edited by Graham Boak
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For Beaufort in my posting read Hampden.  There are also accounts in works such as the Putnam series of British aircraft manufacturers, which despite their age are often more accurate than their more journalistic successors.  The Warpaint series vary: some of them do include a significant account of development history in a fairly sizable word count.  They are however biased towards the modeller, with many colour profiles - not all reliable (as is sadly all too often the case),


If you are interested in a more detailed engineering account, then there is indeed little to be found. You might look in the Aeroplane Archive series for period cutaways.  If however it is the operational aspect that interests you, then there are many more works that include these aircraft, but generally from a narrow viewpoint

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You may wish to refine what you  want from a reference,  use, development,  markings?    The better the  question,the better the answers or recommendations youwillget.


I don't there are  books that cover everything.   Graham's recommendations are always worth paying attention to though.


the series of books in 'At War'  series are hard to beat,

the format is veterans recollections, air and ground crew, (which are often very interesting)  with lots of large, clear, well captioned photos,  either full page,  or double page spreads,  or multiple on the page, which are of great use for the modeller,  

Many are available really cheaply via online seller,  many are 1p and post on Amazon, eg £2.81,   there are some 2 for 1 reprints,  

Lancaster at war 1&2,  though a current look says the two single volumes are cheaper




Halifax and Wellington, 



2 volumes of Hurricane at War,


vol.2 is usually more expensive.


there are also volumes on the Stirling,which is good, and the Beaufighter, which i don't have


note, the Ducimus Camouflage and  Markings guide have volumes on the Hurricane and Beaufighter (fighter versions) in NW Europe, long OOP, but scans  are  available here,and very useful references still.





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Sorry I should have said.  I have most of the 'at war' series which are very good for the photographs of aircraft in question. I am looking  for books with a more development history and engineering aspect, with maybe internal structure drawings.

 I was just looking at the Short Stirling by Pino Lombardi which might be the type of thing I am after. I already have my eye on the Avro Manchester book by Kirkby , I will buy that. There is also a book on the Wellington called 'wimpy' by Steve Bond that looks good.

Edited by Gomtuu
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I have quite a lot of books now by Francis Mason, and must say all of them left me impressed by his style which manages to be detailed yet eminently readable. I rarely finish a book but have managed to do this with his Hunter and Tornado works, and am halfway through Typhoon /Tempest. If his Lanc book is anywhere near, it may suit your needs. If Holmes is "Lanc - definitive history ", I own it but haven't read it yet. Air Britain's Beaufort and Hampden Files are, I'd say, the best you will be able to get on either one (though IIRC both are quite old now and are somewhat "connaisseur" in production and layout ).

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