1 Group Bomber Command

Title: 1 Group Bomber Command
Authors: Chris Ward
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books
Released: 2014
ISBN: 9781473821088
Pages: 331

No.1 Group was one out of seven Bomber Groups in RAF Bomber Command. Each group flew the same type of aircraft. During the war the aircraft of 1 Group flew a total of approximately 57,900 operational sorties. In these operations 8,577 aircrew lost their lives. 1 Group was one of the RAFís most important operational groups. With Chris Wardís "1 Group Bomber Command" now there is an operational history of the groupís activities.

Chris Ward is a British aviation historian who has specialised in Bomber Command history. He became well known for his series of books named "RAF Bomber Command Squadron Profile". Later he also published three books about the Dambusters. "1 Group Bomber Command" is the latest addition to his series of books on the Groups of Bomber Command. He previously published the histories of 3, 4, 5, and 6 Groups. This new title was written in co-operation with Greg Harrison and Grzegorz Korcz.

The book contains only three chapters. The first chapter is a 144 page long narrative, which starts with the formation of 1 Group on 1 May 1936 and runs till 8 May 1945. It covers the most important events in the Group, like raids and changes in command. There are succinct descriptions of individual aircraft losses for most of the raids as well. However, this information is only summarized, as there is insufficient space in this narrative to document all of the activities. The second chapter is a quick reference containing facts, figures and general information. For example, it contains overviews of the commanding officers, operational stations, aircraft types, a list of operational squadrons and records for 1 Group. The third and last chapter is an overview of all squadrons which have been a part of 1 Group during the war. These squadron overviews contain a short history of each unit and overviews of the stations, commanding officers and aircraft types used by the squadrons. There is also an operational record, a table of statistics and an overview of aircraft histories.

"1 Group Bomber Command" is a great reference book for every person interested in the history of this Bomber Command unit. It provides the reader with a myriad of facts and the opportunity to compare the records of a single squadron with another. Overviews like the individual aircraft histories will be of great use for amateur researchers. It is an astonishing achievement by the authors to gather and combine so much information in one book. They canít be blamed for the lack of profundity in the overview of aircraft histories for example. There are so many facts listed in these overviews that there is simply insufficient space to describe them more thorough.

This book isnít convenient for people with a limited foreknowledge of the air war and shouldnít be read as a narrative of it. Although there is a narrative part - the first chapter - the rest of the book contains too much specialised facts. People with a limited knowledge of Bomber Command would get lost amidst the great amount of facts and overviews. "1 Group Bomber Command" must therefore be regarded as a research tool. It is a reference book which is very useful for quick look ups, comparison or verification.

Rating: Very good


Article by:
Pieter Schlebaum
Published on:
Last edit on: