Book Review-‘The Royal Navy WASP: An operational and retirement history’ by L. Jerram-Croft and T. Martin

By David Hobbs, published December 2020


The Westland Wasp was the first manned helicopter in any of the world’s navies designed specifically for operation from small flight decks on frigates and destroyers. It served operationally with the Royal Navy between 1963 and 1988 and achieved export success with the navies of New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil. I never flew the Wasp myself but many of my friends and contemporaries did and, from them, I am aware of its characteristics and shortcomings. Given the Wasp’s significant place in RN history and the fact that it was the first of its kind, it is surprising that it has not attracted the attention it deserves from historians or aviation writers. The authors have addressed this shortcoming with a book that certainly stimulates the readers’ interest. Larry Jeram-Croft served in the RN as an aircraft engineer, retiring as a commander, and as a maintenance test pilot he flew both the Wasp and its replacement the Lynx. He wrote an earlier book about the Lynx. Terry Martin served in the RAF as an aerospace medicine specialist and pilot, retiring as a wing commander. He has subsequently worked as an aeromedical evacuation and intensive care specialist but has also purchased several ‘retired’ Wasps, restored them to airworthiness on the UK civil register and flown them at displays…

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Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Naval Aviation

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