The Society’s Magazine

SOFFAAM members receive Jabberwock”, our quarterly magazine. This lively publication combines the functions of a Newsletter, to inform members of Society events, talks and visits; with a variety of articles on naval aviation subjects.

Jabberwock has a correspondence page for members’ letters and also reports events occurring in the Museum that might be of interest to readers. Links to previous issues (pdf format) are found below:

Click Here to View Jabberwock Issue 94

Other Publications

SOFFAAM has produced a variety of publications on aviation subjects, available through the Museum Shop.

voices-in-flight-coverRecent publications, written in association with the Society, include Voices in Flight – the Fleet Air Arm, details of which are shown below:

The Royal Navy, in common with the other armed services, expanded enormously during the Second World War, so anecdotes from this period naturally predominate. To illustrate the varied experiences of the contributors, these are grouped into “War in the West” and “War in the East”. Whether drawn from peace or war, however, what emerges from these pages is a particular spirit, peculiar to the Fleet Air Arm and reflecting its somewhat hybrid nature; a spirit derived from a high level of professional competence combined with a certain irreverence towards Authority.

Riveting, surprising and in some cases slightly humorous. A reflection of the calibre and bravery that these young navy aircrews were made of. For anyone with an interest in ‘tail hookers’. particularly those of the Royal Navy, this book should be on one’s shelf. Airfix Model World


A newly-published volume, Voices in Flight – the Royal Naval Air Service, is described below:

In its relatively short life, the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) saw the birth of naval aviation and the most extraordinarily rapid increase in the operational capability of this new military arm. This book provides an insight into many of the elements that contributed to this capability; an insight drawn from the diaries, journals, letters and reports of the very people who made it happen. Some of the articles in the book have been published previously in “Jabberwock”, but the source of all the material is drawn from the extensive archives of the Museum, which provides a treasure trove of fascinating and irreplaceable documentation.  The early days of flying training are well described by those who took to the air in remarkably unstable and flimsy machines. Alongside the well-known exploits of the RNAS in support of the Royal Flying Corps in France, the book provides eye-witness accounts of naval aviation involvement in the ill-fated operations against the Turks at Gallipoli. The significant contribution made by dirigible airships to anti-submarine warfare is well described, although the sheer monotony of these patrols comes across very clearly. We also see the preliminary steps towards the launch of wheeled fighters from ships that culminated (just too late to be involved in hostilities) in the first true aircraft-carrier, HMS Argus.

The book finishes on a completely different note. The Royal Naval Armoured Car Division was part of the RNAS and, after somewhat losing its raison d’être in the static conditions on the Western Front, elements of it were deployed in Gallipoli and in Russia. Although fighting in very different conditions from their airborne brothers in the RNAS, the men of the armoured cars were naval officers and ratings, complying with naval disciplines and procedures. Their participation in fighting in various campaigns is perhaps not as well known as others described in this book, but their bravery deserves to be recognised.

By choosing his material carefully and sequencing it sensibly, the author provides a vast amount of information that is easy to digest. There are major sections on the main theatres of RNAS activity: Home Waters, the Western Front and the Mediterranean & the Middle East. The recollections provide a clear understanding of the work done by the RNAS in each of these.  The photographic illustrations are mainly familiar but it’s the text that’s important. This deserves successful sales. Cross & Cockade International

A sterling collection of first-hand accounts drawn from the diaries and recordings of those who served with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in the Royal Naval Air Service during the Great War. This is a remarkable and engaging collection and should be on every reader’s ‘Great War books to read’ list. A must-read. 10/10. The Great War Magazine

[This] is a remarkable collection that thrusts the personal perspective into the often bland official narratives of the Great War. By highlighting the importance of naval aviation in the past this book will help to inform the future. The resourcefulness and flexibility demonstrated by those who served in the RNAS between 1914 and 1918 offers a valuable example for those who serve in today’s Australian Defence Force. Australian Naval Institute – Dr Gregory P Gilbert

Both these books may also be purchased online, direct from the publisher Pen and Sword Books and are available as ebooks for Kindle and other e-readers.