Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.
With reviews of books that cover these topics
A Victor tanker Captain’s experiences in the RAF before, during, and after the Falklands Conflict
Grub Street 10 June 2016
The life of a tanker driver is perhaps not innately the most glamourous of RAF aircrew careers, but Bob Tuxford has squeezed in more experiences than most of his ilk, and has created a very lively book. In 1976, relatively early in his career, he was lucky enough to have a US exchange tour, and this was almost life changing for Bob and his wife. He relates a very hairy episode told to him by one of his US crewmen of what was effectively an aerial rescue during the Vietnam War.
Tanking then and now does not give the opportunity to fly much of a variety of types, so Bob was again lucky (although clearly the posting reflected his high piloting skills) to be sent to the Empire Test Pilots Training School at Boscombe Down. Here he enjoyed a wide variety of types and became involved in the development of, inter alia, the Nimrod. The last 23 years of his flying career, working for Monarch, must have been much less exciting.
So overall this delivers much more than one might imagine at first glance. It is let down by lax editing. Tuxford’s use of English is occasionally quaint: “Crossie would frequently eulogise his own theories in the crew room”. Spelling mistakes should also have been sorted: “teaming”, “well-healed”, etc. Contact sits well in the Grub Street lexicon as a follow on volume to Victor Boys.