Bombs away!


Bris­tol Blen­heim Own­ers’ Work­shop Man­ual by Jar­rod Cot­ter, pub­lished by Haynes £25 RRP. Hard­back, 172 pages, b& w and colour il­lus­tra­tions through­out

There’s much more to this work­shop man­ual on the Bris­tol Blen­heim than just be­ing a guide for any­one who has the priv­i­lege of be­ing re­spon­si­ble for the upkeep of this his­toric air­craft. It tells the story of Bri­tain’s first all-me­tal mono­coque mono­plane and what made it so spe­cial, and it pro­vides an insight into its char­ac­ter­is­tics on take­off, land­ing and in flight. It also con­tains anec­dotes from pi­lots and en­gi­neers in both war and peace­time. And it re­lates all the con­flicts in which the Blen­heim took part, from 1937 when it first en­tered ser­vice, through the war years over France and Ger­many, North Africa and South East Asia, to 1943 in In­dia when its op­er­a­tional front-line ser­vice came to an end. There are box-outs on sub­jects such as how to ex­e­cute a parachute drill in a Blen­heim, and mem­o­ries of the early days from a mem­ber of the Air­craft Restoratio­n Com­pany ded­i­cated to the Blen­heim project. And there are ap­pen­dices on the Blen­heim squadrons and the specifics of the air­craft’s fam­ily tree and for­eign ser­vice.

Of course, be­ing a work­shop man­ual, the book cov­ers every­thing you would need to know in or­der to con­struct, re­store and main­tain one of th­ese air­craft, with de­tailed pho­to­graphs and di­a­grams, as well as in­for­ma­tion on the make-up of the con­trols and en­gine sys­tems and step-by-step in­struc­tions. Should you ever be called on to fly a Blen­heim in aerial con­flict, there are also valu­able tips on han­dling the aero­plane and evad­ing en­emy fight­ers and anti-air­craft fire. Fas­ci­nat­ing, but hope­fully some­thing the av­er­age reader will never have to put into prac­tice! SH

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