27 December 2023

Flying with the Navy – Steve and Heather Bond


I can't say I've ever seen a landscape format book from Grub Street before, especially an aviation title. It's a surprising package from cover to cover (almost as surprising as ABR showcasing a book with a 'Brick' on the cover!). As a sucker for anything to do with wartime naval aviation, and therefore absorbing anything to do with the subject either side of 1939–45, I expected to see some familiar images, but none were. The photos are the 'cast offs'; those not used in the author's Fleet Air Arm Boys series. That says a lot for the quality of the images in that series as this book is quite magic.

The subject matter, which of course guides the images (or was it vice versa?!), covers almost all aspects of life in the Royal Navy's air arm, from far flung bases and theatres to life at sea and 'coming home'. Just about every aircraft type used by the air arm gets its own chapter and photo spread, as do some of the roles that make everything happen and the cultural norms familiar to the naval family. Some of the captions are quite pithy too.

At first glance, you could argue Flying with the Navy is a potted history of the RNAS and FAA, but it goes so much deeper than that. This is the illustrated story of an air arm that, but for a few long years in the mid-1940s, has always had to justify its existence. Its people have always played the cards they've been dealt and always, always, delivered more than could ever be expected. The proof is in the images and breadth of narrative.

Visit Navy Wings and support them by buying the book from their store. 

Please be mindful the Grub Street website links above are only of use if you are in the UK. For various reasons, the publisher no longer ships outside the UK. Please speak to your local bookshop to buy/order a copy, visit the Navy Wings link above, access your preferred buying website or use this Abebooks link to acquire a copy.

ISBN 978-1-91171-4-033