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Shackleton Boys: Volume 2: True Stories from Shackleton Operators Based Overseas


Essentially a development of the Avro Lancaster via the later Lincoln, the Avro Shackleton was the RAF’s first line of defence in the maritime role from 1951 for twenty years, thereafter continuing to serve as an airborne early warning aircraft for another twenty, until 1991. The ‘Old Grey Lady’, the ‘Growler’, ‘20,000 rivets in loose formation’, but mostly known simple as the ‘Shack’, it is viewed with great affection by those who flew and maintained it. All of the Boys’ stories are from air and ground crew veterans themselves, and because there are so many vital and entertaining accounts, Steve Bond has divided his subject into two volumes. Consequently this volume covers UK-based units flying from Ballykelly (including Aldergrove), Farnborough, Honington, Kinloss, Lossiemouth, St Eval, and St Mawgan, plus many overseas detachments including Christmas Island and Majunga.

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After World War II the Royal Air Force went through a considerable downsizing, but retained an essential maritime reconnaissance role for the protection of British interests overseas. These areas were primarily the Mediterranean, Middle East, Far East to Hong Kong and all associated trade routes linking them to Britain and each other. With the arrival in service of the Shackleton from 1951, re-equipment with the new type initially concentrated on the home fleet of Coastal Command. The first overseas station to get them was Gibraltar in 1952, followed by Malta, Singapore, Aden and finally Sharjah.

In addition to their daily routine of maritime patrols, the overseas squadrons took part in a number of significant operations. From dealing with rebellion in Aden, Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence to the Indonesian Confrontation, the Shackleton played a vital peacekeeping role.

There was even a permanent detachment on the island of Gan for search-and-rescue cover for aircraft transiting to and from the Far East.The last overseas RAF Shackletons were based at Sharjah until late 1971, with a detachment from the UK remaining in Singapore until 1972.

The only other operator of the type was the South African Air Force, who flew eight examples of the MR.3 from 1957. The survivors were finally withdrawn from use in November 1984. Thus, after almost thirty-three years the Shackleton’s overseas story was essentially over.

Following the outstanding success of Volume 1, published in 2018 and still available, Steve Bond has garnered another exceptional group of Shack operators who delight in giving the reader their tales of derring-do. Another one for the Boys’ kitbag!

Additional information

Weight 0.912 kg
Dimensions 23.4 × 15.6 × 2.9 cm






272 , 16 unnumbered of plates




358.4283 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K