Bolts from the Blue

From Cold War Warrior to Chief of the Air Staff

Richard Johns

The autobiography of Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns covering an illustrious career in the RAF.
Date Published :
October 2021
Publisher :
Grub Street Publishing
Illustration :
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911667032
Pages : 336
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns was commissioned at the RAF College Cranwell in 1959 after completing flying training on Piston Provost and Meteor aircraft. Following nine years service as an operational fast-jet pilot flying Javelins and Hunters he became a qualified flying instructor during which time he taught The Prince of Wales to wings standard. Returning to the front line he commanded a Harrier squadron and later the Harrier Force in Germany. A succession of national and NATO senior posts followed culminating in his appointment as Chief of the Air Staff and ADC to the Queen. On retirement in April 2000, he became Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle. A past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the RAF Museum, he is now president of the RAF Historical Society. His illustrious 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-sets 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 and its contribution to operations in the Middle East and the Balkans.


‘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.’

- Air Cdr Tom Eeles, author of The Honourable Company of Air Pilots

‘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)

‘Stimulating, enjoyable, well written…'

- ACM Sir Anthony Bagnall Vice CDS 2001-2004

Unique, informative and readable autobiography … an invaluable education for military men and historians.’

- Gp Capt Nigel Walpole

‘Great read. A very valuable addition to the library of anyone with an interest in the history of the RAF.’

- Air Cdr Graham Pitchfork

‘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

‘In recommending this well-written and often page-turning story I am sure you will enjoy Sir Richard’s writing style…’

- AVM Nigel Baldwin, RAF Historical Society Journal

‘A masterly autobiography, the most significant contribution to the RAF's historiography … for many years. Entertaining and persuasive.'

- Air Power Review

‘The Views in this book are forthright and thought provoking - and essential reading.'

- Britain At War

‘Book of the month December 2018. Pulls few punches… such a good read and a valuable contribution to the literature on the post-war RAF.’

- Aeroplane

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