Red Star and Roundel: A Shared Century

Author(s): Philip Wilkinson 

ISBN: 9781781557334
$37.00 $52.00
One nation, another nation’s air force – against each other, with each other, for a century.

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  • Real life and death for airmen in Russia from 1918 to today – with anecdotes, snapshots and official records published for the first time

  • Extremes of temperature and terrain from the Arctic to the Black Sea, from the Baltic to the Caspian

  • Operational insights from combat pilots of two World Wars and the challenges of operating in times of ‘peace’

  • Profusely illustrated with many unpublished colour and mono photographs from the period
The red star and roundel are the symbols of organisations, which share a century of existence, a century with a full quota of conflict as well as harmony.

The Russian red star has maintained its impact in the 100 years since the revolution. The RAF’s red, white and blue roundel has seen action in the air worldwide – including over Russia – for the same period.

Philip Wilkinson had forty years of RAF service – the final three-and-a-half were in Russia. With this unusual double qualification, he examines the dynamics of the Russia-RAF relationship, sometimes as allies, sometimes as adversaries. Drawing on personal reminiscences, official records and recollections of surviving veterans of RAF service in Russia during the Second World War, the narrative ranges from light-hearted to often sombre memories.

It goes from brutal combat in the early years of the intervention to mild language difficulties later, from innocent misunderstandings to deliberate deception, and from cultural contrasts to aesthetic links.

BOOK ISBN 9781781557334
FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 380 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 17 October 2019
ILLUSTRATIONS 66 black-and-white and colour photographs



Philip Wilkinson’s RAF career began with 1950s National Service, included flying duties worldwide, exchange service with US and French Air Forces, command of the RAF station in Berlin as the Wall came down and a final assignment as Defence and Air Attaché in Moscow. Meeting Russian and British veterans of Second World War operations stimulated his interest in the century of links between two nations and their air forces. Having written extensively for journals, and lectured on cruise ships, he now provides the record in full-length and uncut form.