British Army Training in Canada...

...Flying Above the Prairie, from Fonthill Media

Title: British Army Training in Canada
Author: Guy Warner

Publisher: Fonthill Media
ISBN: 978-1-78155-705-1

 

An interesting new 158-page soft-cover book from Fonthill Media looking at the story of British Army aviation support for the large Suffield training area in Canada.  Over 1,000 square miles of prairie, where Battle Group exercises can be held including live fire.  Established in the early 1970s, the Suffield training area remains in use to the present day. In addition to the full range of British Army vehicles which are used there, this book focusses on the operation of the Army Air Corps support unit based there as well.  When the base was first set up, the air support element consisted of a Beaver fixed wing aircraft plus a couple of Sioux helicopters. We hear the story of how everything came together, from many of the people involved.

The chapters tell us the story of Aviation Support in a chronological order, with the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's and finally in the 21st Century. The final section considers the 'Roles' that helicopters play in the training area.  We see how the Sioux had the addition of Westland Scouts, which could undertake live fire of their SS11 anti-tank missiles. Then the Gazelle arrived, a very capable helicopter which continues in service some 40 years down the line. We get to know about things like the varied weather conditions which can be experienced and the jobs they have to carry out.  These vary from recce, observation, Medevac and hauling cargo (such as targets) to ferrying VIPs and even helping with fire control on the dry prairie. Throughout the book there are a host of archive images from the early days through to now, with equipment, personalities, maps and documents which all relate to the text. A very readable text and very well illustrated with plenty of memories from the personnel who have served there over the years. A history of a particular unit with a very unusual tasking.

Thanks to Fonthill Media for our review copy.

Robin