In anticipation of the 80th Anniversary Commemorations for D-Day on June 6th, two riveting memoirs have been published, each offering a unique perspective on military service during pivotal periods of history.

“From Biplanes to Fast Jets: A Pilot’s Life in the Royal Air Force 1942–1973” by Ken Aedy

Ken Aedy’s memoir is a captivating journey through the golden age of British military aviation, spanning from the Second World War to the 1970s. Aedy’s personal experiences as a Royal Air Force pilot offer a poignant tribute to an entire generation of individuals caught in extraordinary circumstances. From his humble beginnings learning to fly on biplanes to navigating the skies in fast jets like the Javelin, Aedy’s story encapsulates the rapid technological advancements and geo-political turmoil of the 20th century.

This full-colour, coffee-table-sized memoir features stunning illustrations and photographs, providing readers with a visually immersive experience. Published in honour of what would have been Ken Aedy’s 100th birthday, the book serves as a testament to his dedication to public service and his profound love for flying. Proceeds from the launch will be donated to the RAF Benevolent Fund, supporting the welfare of RAF personnel and their families.

Find out more here.

“Hearts of Steel: Peace and War in the Royal Navy 1918 – 1941” by Jim Carter

Jim Carter’s “Hearts of Steel” offers a captivating biography of three Royal Navy ships—HMS Effingham, Hawkins, and Nubian—alongside the life of Able Seaman Herbert Leeder, whose naval career spanned two World Wars. Carter’s meticulous research, drawing from logbooks, transcripts, and first-hand accounts, vividly reconstructs life aboard these vessels during the interwar years and the early stages of World War II.

Part one of the book delves into the acceptance process and operations within the Royal Navy, showcasing the technological advancements and evolving tactics that shaped naval warfare. In part two, readers follow Herbert Leeder’s journey aboard HMS Nubian through some of the darkest moments of the Second World War, including the battles of Calabria and Matapan.

“Hearts of Steel” is a testament to the bravery and resilience of those who served in the Royal Navy during a transformative period in history. Capturing both the triumphs and tragedies of naval life, Carter’s narrative is both informative and deeply engaging.

Both memoirs offer invaluable insights into the lives of ordinary individuals thrust into extraordinary circumstances, making them essential reads for anyone interested in military history and the human experience.

Find out more here.

Image Source:

  • Photo by israel palacio: instant images