In this riveting critique of the Fleet Air Arm's policy across two world wars, former FAA Fighter Pilot Henry Adlam charts the course of its history from 1912 to 1945, logging the various milestones, mistakes and successes that characterised the service history of the Fleet Air Arm. Offering criticism on the service hierarchies that made up the Fleet, backed up by his having served in six Carriers and flown from them in all five theatres of sea warfare during five years of the Second World War, Adlam presents a highly entertaining and potentially controversial study which is sure to appeal to a wide array of aviation enthusiasts. Adlam charts the catalogue of errors that blighted the history of the Naval Air Service, which followed the disastrous decision in April 1918 to transfer the whole of the Air Service of the Royal Navy to form the new RAF. The main and over-riding criticism that the author finds with the Fleet Air Arm lies in the manner in which it was led. Adapting the oft-quoted Lions led by Donkeys description of the British Army, Adlam describes the activities of the Fleet Air Arm in the Second World War as the result of Sea Eagles led by Penguins practices, when experienced pilots were led into battle by senior members of the Navy who possessed little or flying experience. This led to a whole host of disasters costing many lives amongst flight personnel. Adlam charts the errors that blighted the history of the Fleet Air Arm and shows how its recovery and the triumphant turnaround of its fortunes were all the more remarkable. Taking the reader on a journey from inception during First World War service, throughout all the many disasters and successes that followed between the Wars and on into the Second World War and beyond, this book offers engaging new insights and a degree of critical candour that set it apart from other Fleet Air Arm histories currently available on the market.
Henry 'Hank' Adlam was educated at Harrow School. After his wartime Naval service he, like many demobbed personnel, tried his hand at many occupations and led an intriguing civilian life (another book in the making). He is a well-known Bristol character and, having lectured for some years at the University, frequently appears in the local media. Still retaining the wicked sense of humour that is frequently demonstrated in this book, he continues to write despite being registered blind. He is the author of On and Off the Flight Deck: Recollections of a Naval Fighter Pilot in World War Two, published by Pen and Sword in 2007.