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Cold War Boys

Richard Pike, Grub Street, September 2022

By Boys series standards, this book is a rather random collection of stories that do not seem to have found a home elsewhere. The second chapter is a series of reminisces by ex-Lightning jockey Rick Peacock-Edwards, that are covered in his autobiography. This author, Rickard Pike, has rewritten it into the third person “Rick said ..., Rick did…” which becomes a little tedious. The third chapter, on Tim Thorn’s parachuting escapades is , however, much better. Thorn later becomes an AEF pilot, presumably under the FTRS scheme, and recounts an engine failure after take-off in a Bulldog. He turned back at a height of only 300’; as I recall this action was strictly verboten at that height. Most of Pike’s contribution has no relevance to the Cold War, but he does underline the rather primitive conditions  (not to say cold) of serving in the Falklands (post-conflict).

Mike Perry has a good Bucc story, that would have sat well in Buccaneer Boys. Sean Withams has some Phantom tales that are actually related to the Cold War – all the Bear hunting seems oddly nostalgic now in 2022. Dave Lanigan has some Valiant stories, one of which indicates that a design flaw (in the tailplane trim system) would probably have meant the type’s withdrawal from service, even if the main spar fatigue issue had not been found.

There is some strange use of English – “ex-patriot” is used not once, but at least thrice, and Pike has a habit of over-writing. He spends pages describing what might have happened before writing what did happen – this niggles after a short while.

In conclusion a volume that does not match up to its sister volumes in the Boys series.

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