Northern ‘Q’: The History of Royal Air Force Leuchars (hardback edition)

Author(s): Ian Smith Watson 

ISBN: 9781781551929
£14.00 £20.00
The history of Britain’s foremost Cold War fighter squadron.

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  • The demands of financial pressures from the coalition government have led to severe defence cuts where political expedience has driven the agenda resulting in the departure of the RAF from Leuchars to Lossiemouth

  • Comprehensive with exhaustive research from the National Archives, previously unpublished RAF operational record books and many anecdotes from former airmen and officers

  • Gloriously illustrated throughout with a varied and interesting selection of images, many previously unpublished

Northern ‘Q’: The History of Royal Air Force Leuchars takes its title from the long standing primary role as one of the oldest airfields in the UK. Leuchars began its links with military aviation as far back as 1911 with the arrival of the Royal Engineers who established a balloon squadron for reconnaissance training. Following the outbreak of war in 1939, the station was identified as an ideal location to launch maritime operations under Coastal Command.

By the end of the war, Leuchars, like so many other airfields, was under the threat of redundancy as many airfields were rendered surplus to requirements. The station’s role changed as the Cold War began in earnest. Given its location, the base was on the frontline of UK Air Defence for the duration of the Soviet threat and remains active as one of only two UK Air Defence Fighter stations in the RAF Order of Battle.This developing international situation placed Leuchars once again in an ideal and vital position.

The post-war air defence threat to the UK was resurgent, but this time from the north rather than south. From 1950, this airbase has been on permanent guard with every type of operational interceptor in RAF service. Now facing closure due to SDSR cuts and political compromise, Leuchars also has the unique distinction of being the last RAF station to officially stage a Battle of Britain at Home Air Display each September.

BOOK ISBN 9781781551929
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 208 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 80 black-and-white photographs



Ian Smith Watson was born in 1960 and served in the RAF from 1977 to 1990 as an Air Defence Radar Operator. He also worked in Saudi Arabia from 1991 to 1993 on contract to the RSAF under the GENA programme and received the FAA Flight Despatch Licence in 1993. His first book was The Royal Air Force At Home.