RAF Transport Command

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When RAF Transport Command was created in March 1943, it was formed by the renaming of Ferry Command. The delivery of aircraft from manufacturers to operational units had been ongoing since the start of the Second World War; but was significantly intensified by the supply of American machines flown across the Atlantic from 1940. Later, Transport Command took over the role of dropping paratroops. It even undertook the ferrying of mail from the UK to troops fighting across Europe, using specially modified Spitfires and Hurricanes for the role. After 1945 and the conclusion of the Second World War, Transport Command grew considerably in size. In 1948, it was at the forefront of the Berlin Airlift. It would later serve the RAF particularly well during the Suez Crisis, the Malayan Emergency, the nuclear trial on Christmas Island, and the British North Greenland Expedition. Perhaps not so well-known is its role in Operation Becher’s Brook when 430 Canadair Sabre F.1 and F.4 aircraft were ferried to the UK from Labrador via Greenland and Iceland by crews of 147 Squadron. Transport Command’s mainstay would be the venerable Handley Page Hastings, which served through to the early 1970s. Other long-range types included the Bristol Britannia and the de Havilland Comet, the world’s first jet-powered passenger transport aircraft. Heavy lifters included the Blackburn Beverley and Shorts Belfast while the Scottish Aviation Pioneer and Twin Pioneer featured at the lighter, tactical end. Later the VC10 C.1 and Lockheed Hercules came into service. This book covers a pictorial history of Transport Command operations from 1943 through to 1967, when RAF Transport Command was renamed Support Command. It is profusely illustrated with images from the Air Historical Branch – many of which have never previously been published; all supported with a concise but thorough text.


Keith Wilson has been involved in aviation publishing for more than 30 years and is probably best known for his striking air-to-air images in Pilot magazine. He has more than 1,500 air-to-air sorties under his belt, shooting almost 2,000 different aircraft in the process. He has photographed a very broad range of subjects, from gliders, vintage and veteran, aerobatics and general aviation right through high-altitude research aircraft, biz jets, commercial jets and military fast jets. During this time he has amassed a photographic library of around 300,000 images. He has worked for a number of well-known aviation companies across Europe and flying is also his hobby. He obtained a Private Pilots Licence back in 1981 and continues to fly at every opportunity.