Fuel drums being loaded on the beach, Sicily, 1943. Trevor Stone / Fonthill Media / mediadrumworld.com

By Liana Jacob

INCREDIBLE photographs have been released in a new book that explores the development of Royal Air Force logistics in WW2 and the Cold War.

The fascinating pictures show a ‘behind-the-scenes’ view of how various transport was used during the two major wars, including fuel drums being loaded on the beach in Sicily, 1943, and an aircraft bomb storage during the 1930s in India.

Other images illustrate the required uniform for a typical Royal Flying Corps (RFC) airman. The tunic the man wears was famously known as the maternity jacket. Another portrait reveals Charles Lambe, who was a senior Royal Navy Officer who fought in WW2.

Air Commodore Charles Lambe. Trevor Stone / Fonthill Media / mediadrumworld.com


Further images depict the tragic consequence of the Fauld explosion that left a 300-feet deep crater with a length of 250 yards, which occurred on November 27, 1944, on UK soil.

The historical photos are part of a book called Sustaining Air Power by former senior RAF logistics officer, Trevor Stone, and is published by Fonthill Media.

“The RAF’s logistics organisation, structure, and procedures were shaped, initially by lessons learned from the First World War, then progressively developed to support operations in the 1920s and 1930s,” Trevor said.

Replica RE8 aircraft pictured at the Shuttleworth Trust, Old Warden. Trevor Stone / Fonthill Media / mediadrumworld.com


“The post-war period saw the RAF building on those foundations, a process that saw log

istics evolving to meet the needs of the new service. By the outbreak of the Second World War, however, RAF logistics were very different, largely as a result of the transformation that took place during the expansion programme that began in 1934.”

The RAF is the UK’s aerial warfare force which was first formed towards the end of the First World War on April 1, 1918 and is the oldest independent air force in the world.

Rear gun turret of a Halifax bomber. Trevor Stone / Fonthill Media / mediadrumworld.com


The RAF went through an accelerated development prior to and during the Second World War. During the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended British skies against German Luftwaffe.

Following the success in WW2, the RAF experienced considerable re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the introduction of jet fighters and bombers.

“One of the earliest difficulties that the RFC experienced was due to the relative infancy of aircraft production. At the outbreak of war, there were just twelve aircraft-manufacturing firms in Britain, three of which were producers of seaplanes,” Trevor said.

Steam tank locomotive Aldwyth pictured at Kidbrooke in the 1950s. Trevor Stone / Fonthill Media / mediadrumworld.com


“In terms of output, total production amounted to just 100 aircraft per year. This limited manufacturing capacity meant that the British were largely dependent on France to meet their needs.

“Indeed, the demand for aircraft in the first six months of the war was so great that some 100 aircraft were bought from French companies; by the end of the war, 1,500 airframes had been acquired from this source.”

Sustaining Air Power is published by Fonthill Media and is available here: