The History Journal

The History Journal aims to publish out of the way, unusual articles of an historical nature.  

Copper Wings

Both parts of Copper Wings is now available here:

 The story of the BSAP Reserve Air Wing - Flying small planes in a big way

This tells the contribution of civilians who supported hard-pressed forces and armed their planes with guns and homemade bombs and served in many other essential roles.

FOR SALE - Books and published articles - available from The History Journal, Amazon or The Aviation Historian 

FORTHCOMING 2023 Copper Wings - 

The story of  Leominster's Cold War jet and its restoration after 46 years exposed to the elements. Covers the history of the development of the Swift, the problems faced as a technological pioneer, and its success as a reconnaissance platform during the Cold War.

Fabulous before and after restoration pictures from Jet Art Aviation the restoration company. 

Gloucestershire Airport - Through Time

Charts the history of the Staverton site from the very earliest aeronautical activities right up to the present day. 

All royalties and proceeds from purchases made at the Jet Age Museum will be donated to the museum's funds.

When Britain sent RAF Javelins To Zambia in 1966, they were there as a show of force on both sides of the Zambezi. 

Available from The Aviation Historian 

 Britain's Jet Age Vol 1

The story of Britains First jets from the Gloster E28/39 through to the de Havilland Sea Vixen 

A book of firsts, of promise, of discovery and bravery. Illustrated with over 140 photographs - many of which have never been published

Britain's Jet Age Vol 2

The story of Britains Second Generation jets from the Gloster Javelin to the wonderful VC10

A generation of swept wings, speed, and jetliners.  With over 140 photographs - many of which have never been published

During the Rhodesian Bush War, Police Reserve volunteers flew their private planes in support of the forces. Part I in this issue covers the early days, training, courier flights, and then the more serious combat Casevac and Reconnaissance roles. 

Serve to Save 

The history of the South African Air Force maritime unit from 1939 to 1986. This service saved many lives throughout the war and was the forerunner of the now essential NSRI service

No longer in print, but an updated Kindle edition is available from Amazon

'Paid' for by the town of Northleach, HMS Starwort fought in the Battle of the Atlantic, ran the gauntlet on the Russian convoys, crossed the Atlantic over 50 times, and sunk a submarine. Post-war she became a whale catcher in the southern oceans

A small ebooklet available from Amazon

Part II of the Police Reserve Air Wing (PRAW) tells how PRAW pilots armed their Cessna and Beechcraft light aircraft with machine guns and bombs initially for self-protection, but as the war intensified the aircraft were used in the ground attack role. 

War History Online  - Review of WK275

This 160-page book filled with both black and white and colour photos concentrates on the story of one particular Swift, WK275. This is the sole surviving aircraft, designed and built by the same company that built the iconic World War II fighter the Spitfire, Vickers Supermarine. Back in the 1950s the British Government was in the need to fulfil the gap for a jet powered fighter in the air defence role to face the threat coming from the Eastern Bloc countries. The Swift suffered from several flaws during its production that made it less popular in comparison to the Hawker Hunter that saw service in many air forces over several decades. Incidentally, the Swift F4 WK195 briefly held the airspeed world record, having attained 737.7 mph (1,187 kmh) in 1953 whilst being flown by Vickers Supermarine’s chief test pilot Mike Lithgow over Libya.

Guy Ellis has done an excellent job of telling the story of this last survivor and also the history of the Swift from its conception and into service with the RAF. After ending its service life, WK275 was acquired by the Sheppard family and  became an iconic landmark in Leominster, England; where it remained slowly deteriorating due to exposure to the British weather over many years. That was until 2012, when it was sold to Jet Aviation Art. Guy covers the full restoration project with many original photos showing WK275 in various states of decay along with the remaking of parts right through to the finished mint condition article that she is today. WK275 can be seen on display in the same hangar as Vulcan XH558 at Doncaster Airport in the north of England while she is on loan to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust.

Guy has done a great job of showing what it takes to restore and preserve an aircraft. All this contributes to making this book a great addition to any aviation lover’s library. 

Whilst the History Journal would like to be considered as a serious contribution to the historical landscape it has not been created as a reference source. Wherever possible reference lists and acknowledgments are provided with the articles.

This site covers aviation, naval matters, civil history and will be as in-depth and as accurate as it is possible to make them.

The information here is for entertainment, to pass the time of day or to pick up a relatively unknown gem of history and bring some of the past alive.