History Book Reviews

Winged Crusaders: The Exploits of 14 Squadron RFC & RAF 1915-45 – Michael Napier

One of the oldest and most distinguished squadrons in the RAF, No.14 Squadron currently flies the Beechcraft Shadow R1 in the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance role in support of ground forces in Afghanistan. The squadron’s latest incarnation, therefore, has a remarkable parallel to its original formation in 1915 when it flew in support of the Army on operations in Arabia, most notably the Arab forces led by T.E. Lawrence.

Remaining in the area after the First World War, this association is reflected in its badge, which includes a winged plate charged with a cross throughout and shoulder pieces of a suit of armour. At the same time, the squadron’s motto is, uniquely for the RAF, a quotation from the Koran in Arabic – “I spread my wings and keep my promise”.

Michael Napier’s book is a model of what a squadron history should be. In nine well illustrated chapters he fully describes the unit’s activities not only through the First and Second World Wars, but also the interwar years when it flew operations in Transjordan and Palestine. Napier’s well written text is complimented by extensive footnotes and appendices, including a very useful list of references and all the aircraft flown during the period covered.

Also included are camouflage and marking notes and sixteen colour profiles by artist Peter West. This excellent book will appeal to former squadron members, historians and modellers alike. Volume 2 will cover the years from 1945 to date.

Review courtesy of Britain At War Magazine.

Jonny Mardling

Jonny Mardling

Jonny Mardling is the Editor of The History Herald. He has a keen interest in Second World War and Cold War history, and with a great grandfather who was killed during the Battle of the Somme, he also has a fascination with First World War history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *