Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns reflects on his illustrious career in this fascinating autobiography. During his time in the RAF, Sir Richard attended RAF College Cranwell, served as an operational fast-jet pilot on Javelin night-fighters and then fighter-reece Hunters operating from Aden and Oman. He also commanded the Harrier Force in Germany. As a qualified flying instructor, he taught the Prince of Wales to fly to wings standard.
During the 1990s, Sir Richard held a succession of senior national and NATO appointments and played an important role throughout conflicts such as the first Gulf War and the Balkans war. It was in 1997 that he received his appointment as chief of the Air Staff where he was responsible for the operational efficiency and morale of the Royal Air Force. During his last three years of service, the air chief marshal was fully involved in the decision-making process of the Strategic Defence Review, the commitment of RAF aircraft to operations over and within Kosovo and continuing air operations over north and south Iraq.
His distinguished career gave him the privilege of a rare, if not singular, perspective of the RAF, its sister services and national defence matters, witnessing a steady decline in the combat power of the UK’s armed forces as financial management took precedence over identifying strategic priorities and maintaining the vital skill-set of service personnel.
His views are forensic and forthright, balanced and thought-provoking and this autobiography should be essential reading for anyone interested in the development of Allied air power over the last fifty years.
Praise for Bolts from the Blue
‘An outstanding story of a distinguished airman’s career … well-illustrated … written clearly, precisely with humour and a fantastic recall. I cannot recommend it highly enough.’ The Honourable Company of Air Pilots
‘Pulls few punches… such a good read and a valuable contribution to the literature on the post-war RAF.’ Aeroplane’s Book of the Month (December 2018)
‘A masterly autobiography, the most significant contribution to the RAF’s historiography … for many years. Entertaining and persuasive.’ Air Power Review
‘Quite the best autobiography I have read on military matters for years. Should become compulsory reading for young officers.’ ACM Sir Michael Graydon (CAS 1992-1997)
‘A masterpiece contribution to RAF contemporary history.’
ACM Sir Patrick Hine (AOC-in-C Strike Command 1988-91)
‘A nicely balanced combination of history, personal reflection, honesty and insight.’
ACM Sir Stephen Hillier (CAS 2016-19)