On Silver Wings

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Co-authors Alec Lumsden and Owen Thetford.

Edited by Tony Holmes.

Designed by Muke Moule.

Published By Ospray.

November 25 1993

1993   ISBN 1 855 32374 5

Foreword By Jeffrey Quill OBE. AFC. 

Colour profiles by Charles Hannah.

Scale drawings by Alf Granger, for many of the aircraft.

224 pages

The "Golden Age" of the RAF, the period between the wars, produced a series of elegant and highly nimble biplane fighter aircraft that laid down the foundation for the world famous Spitfire and Hurricane fighters of World War II. This reference source uses a series of articles run over the previous two years in "Aeroplane Monthly" as a base to describe the British fighter aircraft of this highly colourful period. It profiles all ten fighter types that entered service in Britain in the 20 years between the wars, detailing both the types' service history and full technical development and specification.

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  This book is an important contribution to the study of a period in British Military Aviation History that generally receives little attention. The years between the war saw the gradual development of the biplane fighter from WW1 wood and fabric designs to fast, high-powered all-metal interceptors.

The authors cover all the major fighter designs used in front-line service by the RAF in the years between 1918 and 1939, from the Sopwith Snipe to the Gloster Gladiator.

Each type is described in considerable detail, covering the main technical features, performance characteristics and service history. Highly accurate plans are provided for each aircraft. Good quality photographs are provided on almost every page, together with numerous colour plates.

Detailed technical specifications of each type are accompanied by data on production quantities by manufacturers, dates and locations of all squadrons equipped, and a comprehensive review of squadron markings and serials of aircraft with each unit. A unique feature of the book is the inclusion of over 100 individual aircraft profiles in color, and there is a rare collection of black & white photography never seen in print prior to this publication.

Despite the technical nature of the subject, an easy and accessible style broadens the appeal of the book. This is evident in the way the authors discuss the aesthetic appeal of the different designs and recount the human elements of the story, most notably the heroic exploits of test pilots.

Aircraft covered.

Sopwith Snipe

Gloster Grebe

Armstrong-Whitworth Siskin

Hawker Woodcock

Gloster Gamecock

Bristol Bulldog

Hawker Fury

Hawker Demon

Gloster Gauntlet

Gloster Gladiator




By Keith Woodcock, GAvA.

Water colour /gouache.

This painting was commissioned for the front cover of the book "On Silver Wings" and was subsequently purchased by the author, Owen Thetford.

Introduced in 1935, the Gauntlet was the last open-cockpit fighter to be used by the RAF, equipping no less than 21 squadrons. It depicts an aircraft of No 74 'Tiger  Squadron'. 

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                                      Last updated 10/3/09