A Detailed History of RAF Manston 1945-1999...
... from Fonthill Media
Title: A Detailed History of RAF Manston 1945-1999
Author: Joe Bamford, John Williams and Peter Gallagher
Publisher: Fonthill Media
The fourth in the series of books on the history of RAF Manston. A 192-page soft-cover book from Fonthill Media and this one finishes off the story of Manston under RAF stewardship, taking the story from the end in WW2 in 1945 until the RAF left it 1999. It became Kent International Airport which is itself struggling to re-open after that closed in 2014.
You might think that once the war was over that things would be quiet, but Manston still managed to have a colourful peacetime 'life'. The story is spread over 25 chapters and showcases such a diverse series of elements to the airfield's history. There were Czech squadrons that moved in at the end of the war, and Spitfires still graced the airfield. Amongst the records of those early post-war days which surprised me were the number of records for ex-Luftwaffe Junkers 52s landing there. It goes on to include the use of the airfield by Transport Command and an early civilian operator. Then there was a period of use by the USAF, basing jets like the F-84 there. The USAF left Manston in 1958 and the following year the RAF returned, along with another civilian operator, Silver City. Early in the 1960; a new emergency system was installed at the airfield, the Pyrene Foam Landing System, designed to prevent sparking during a crash landing to prevent fire. A number of stories tell us how this was used, for both RAF and civilian aircraft. Most notable was a Bristol Britannia in 1967, an event that is detailed. Lots more of course, with helicopters based there, a Spitfire Gate Guardian that was saved, preserved and sent back to be in the museum which is still at the airfield today and so much more.
Plenty of accidents and other stories make up the post-war story of Manston, until the RAF left in 1999. The book is well illustrated throughout with archive photos, all with good captions. A wide mix of aircraft types could be seen there over the years and it rounds off the history of the site very nicely indeed.
Thanks to Fonthill Media for our review copy.