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The RAF V-Force.

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World War 3 within a Fortnight!

Cartoon of a man selling newspapers.

September 1955 and something for the 74th brats to look forward to? This Daily Express headline from 1955 reminds us of just how close we were to nuclear war. The newspaper had a thick black border encompassing the whole of the front and back pages. This was only one of the many scares in the Cold War between the USSR and the West.

The West's defences naturally involved the RAF and hence it is that many ex-brats were involved in keeping our V-Force Bombers at the ready.

This newspaper headline was the result of the Formosa crisis caused by China bombing what is now known as Taiwan and the threat from the United States to use nuclear weapons on China. This had brought the Cold War to a head. Fortunately war was avoided by pressure from the rest of the World, but the Cold War continued into the 1990's. As did the involvement of the RAF V-Force and the many ex-brats who served with the V-Force at all levels.

V-Force: the RAF in the Midst of the Cold War.

Sketch of a V-Force Vulcan, Valiant and Victor .

[The Three V-Bombers: Sketch by Joe Bosher.]

To counter the apparent build-up of the Soviet Bomber force the British Government created a RAF V-Force consisting of three V-Bombers; the Vickers Valiant, the Avro Vulcan and the Handley Page Victor. The first of the RAF's V-class bombers, the Valiant, flew for the first time on 18 May 1951 and entered service with No 138 Squadron early in 1955. This was followed by the Vulcan and later the Victor.

I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has any stories about the V-Force ; humorous, technical or historical. Please use the Feedback Form to contact me briefly, in the first instance.

Joe Bosher (74th).


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