A former RAF pilot who flew Tornadoes over Germany has written a book celebrating the history of a squadron which is celebrating 100 years in February.
Michael Napier, 55, of Great Rollright, has released his book, Blue Diamonds, about the 14 Squadron from after the Second World War to today.
The married father-of-two was with the 14 Squadron in the mid-1980s and early 1990s when it was based in Germany.
Now a pilot with British Airways, Mr Napier spoke to more than 50 people for the book, from 80-year-olds who flew with the squadron in the 1940s and 1950s to younger members who have flown over Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said: “I’m passionate about it. Even though people haven’t heard of it, the 14th is the fifth oldest squadron in the RAF. It flew in both wars. My labour of love is getting the word out.
“I used to fly Tornadoes around Germany and although I wasn’t in the Gulf War, I was involved in operational flying over Iraq. It was just a job, but equally, it was quite exciting because it was doing something real.”
The squadron was formed in Shoreham in February 1915 and is now based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. It’s marking its birthday with a ceremony in Shoreham on February 4 and a dinner in Waddington.
In 2013, Mr Napier released his first book, Winged Crusaders, about the history of the squadron up to the end of the Second World War. Blue Diamonds includes research from the National Archives, eyewitness accounts and details from members’ log books.
“I spoke to guys in their 80s and they had some interesting stories to tell,” Mr Napier said. “They were old boys who flew before health and safety was invented.”
Blue Diamonds is also a family affair, with Mr Napier’s 21-year-old son, Tom, designing the front cover. It is available from bookshops, Amazon or the publisher Pen and Sword.