History of No.47 (RAF) Squadron

CLARK, Owen. Under Their Own Flag: A History of 47 Squadron 1916-1946. Fighting High Ltd, 2016. 160 pp.

I acknowledge that I bought the book primarily for the part relating to the participation of No.47 (RAF) Squadron in East African Campaign. On this point, the book does not add much, the text being essentially a synthesis (of very good quality) of the existing publications on the subject. I did not find any new information. Note, however, several photographs of Wellesley probably unpublished (at least I have never seen it), as well as some interesting elements (including a poem written by one of the pilots in reference to the events of 13 October 1940.

The remainder of the book, however, is very interesting, in particular, the period relating to the WWI (the Squadron having been based on the Eastern front), then participation in the Russian Civil War in support of the troops of the “Whites” in the south. This part is probably the center of the author’s work and researches in great detail. Not really knowing the subject of British support, I would not say more on the substance. But, in any case very instructive to read.

For the rest, we can note a few pages relating to the operations in the Eastern Mediterranean and especially related to the events in the Dodecanese  and the island of Kos, as well as the participation in the Burma campaign.

Overall, the text is quality, with a lot of details about the missions. It should be noted, however, that it’s mainly a synthesis text with a certain distance from the pilots and other members of the Squadron. Similarly, the testimonies are almost non-existent. We are quite far from the two book of Steve Brew devoted to No.41 (RAF) Squadron.

Concerning the form, I am very mixed. Certainly, the paper is pleasant to the touch, the photos are very well printed. However, I am sorry, but the text divided into three columns on each page with a font of less than 12 (maybe 10?), Is sometimes quite unpleasant for reading …

Similarly, it is a shame not to have a real bibliography, a dozen sources are insufficient for me (especially when the 3/4 are relative to the Russian adventure). Same, for the footnotes (or at the end of the book) almost absent. This double absence always hampers me in order to be able to evaluate the research work carried out by the author.

For information, the book is available on Amazon by clicking on this link (France Shop) or this other link (shop United-Kingdom).


Leave a Reply