Articles, Maritime History

Irish Air Corps

Irish Air Corps
by Joe Maxwell & Patrick J Cummins

Published by Max Decals Publications, 2009, ISBN 978 09562624 0 0

This large format publication does full justice to the extensive illustrations and photographs. It is a comprehensive guide to the aircraft in the Air Corps fleet with detailed service histories. The book will appeal to the aviation enthusiast, military historian and because of the extensive detail on colour schemes it will be of interest to modellers. Moreover it is of general interest because in describing the wide variety of aircraft it traces the history of military aviation and fills in much detail about wartime activities. The maritime aspect of the air corps story lies in the extensive activities during the second world war. The coastal patrol even operated amphibious Walrus and Anson aircraft but after a series of crashes and severe shortage of fuel the coast watching service took over the coastal observation role. One wonders how many more torpedoed seamen would have been saved by a diligent aerial patrol. Many of the aircraft were acquired after crash landings in Ireland though remarkably no German types were salvaged and put into service. The sheer quantity of information and research in this excellent book is amazing. It is quite clear that the authors are on to of their topic but enthusiastic about aircraft as well. It is a breath of fresh air to find such books published as a labour of love instead of rapidly thrown together as a commercial venture by a journalist with superficial knowledge of the subject. There is a glimpse into the murky world of military planning during the cold war in the description of a comprehensive coastal survey between 1948 and 1954. Operation Sandstone mapped and photographed Ireland’s beaches and harbours with assistance from the British. The scenario envisaged was a Russian occupied Europe needing to be invaded from America through Ireland. During this operation the first helicopter to work in Ireland crashed in Youghal. This book is the definitive and comprehensive guidebook to the Air Corps. It will be a work of reference in time to come Altogether The Irish Air Corps is an entertaining read for anyone even remotely interested in the topic.

reviewed by Ed Bourke