My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Personally, I think Rowland White‘s Phoenix Squadron is even better than Vulcan 607! The story goes far beyond the core event, where aircraft from the Ark Royal are tasked with a mission which is a true record breaker. The wealth of history included, and the vivid descriptions, are worth reading regardless of the actual point of the tale.
With Britain looking to scrap her strike carriers, Ark Royal earns a brief reprieve. That means that the Fleet Air Arm (the Royal Navy’s air force) enjoys a similar brief stay of execution for their fixed wing aircraft. It proves fortunate indeed when Guatemala is proven to be on the brink of invading British Honduras, Britain’s sole remaining American mainland colony. The colony is aiming for independence, as the sovereign state of Belize. Unfortunately, it lacks any means to defend itself. And that’s where the Fleet Air Arm comes in. Britain must prove a willingness to defend Belize and only the Buccaneer squadron aboard HMS Ark Royal can react quickly, so far from home.
Rowland White covers both sides of the crisis, and draws together the threads with skill. I would recommend this book to everybody interested in aviation history, naval history, and a general audience who simply enjoy a great true story.