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A Hundred Years of RAF Air Display 1920-2020

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📚📣 ✈️Available now: "A HUNDRED YEARS OF RAF AIR DISPLAY 1920-2020" by Ian Smith Watson


Read more 🔗 https://fml.pub/RAF-displays


A comprehensive study of the RAF’s lesser-known brilliance: the spectacle of aviation over 100 years on centre stage. Founded on 1 April 1918, the Royal Air Force has forged a distinguished operational record. As the first independent air force, the service also had to fight initial scepticism from the Army and Navy. The first CAS, Lord Trenchard, courted public support through a field of endeavour, which the RAF was perfectly placed to present: the air display. The first event was held at Hendon in north London in 1920. With the facilities to accommodate large audiences, essentially an airfield, and the resources to facilitate impressive flying demonstrations, the RAF’s survival was assured. From 1934, ‘Empire Air Day’ expanded the opportunity for public attendance by involving several RAF stations across the country until war intervened in 1939. True prominence for the ‘junior service’ came during the Second World War, particularly during the Battle of Britain, later the focal point of celebration and commemoration in the post-war era. As the years passed, the RAF has contracted, and other factors have conspired to make air displays ever more challenging, while military displays remain in high demand.


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I’m sure the text is comprehensive, well researched, and well-written, but it does seem a missed opportunity on the illustrations not to have comprehensive colour coverage. What could have been the definitive reference is now just going to be one of a pile of books you need to do justice to the subject…



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  • 1 month later...
On 7/27/2022 at 2:16 PM, cmatthewbacon said:

seem a missed opportunity on the illustrations not to have comprehensive colour coverage.

Errmmm.... that is kinda ignoring the fact that - up until the mid-1960's or so - colour film was very expensive and not very readily available. So, anything photographed before that period was most likely to be monochrome. 


I remember reading a while ago, that about 75% of the photojournalism in the Vietnam conflict was B&W, as it was largely destined to be used in American newspapers of the time.  





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  • 2 weeks later...

Ordered a copy through Books etc. (for a bit less than RRP) which arrived today and from the first flick through I am very impressed by the way that the subject has been approached.       


I had bought RAF In Camera 100 Years On Display quite recently and while in itself an excellent book I felt that it rather concentrated more on the ceremonial aspect of the RAF's public face at the expense of the 'At Home' events that perhaps much of the country were more exposed to which has been remedied here.


Also from my first look through the explanation of the policies , practices and thinking behind the events is fascinating.

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