Helion's Copper Wings vol 1

Author/Artists: Guy Ellis


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 62 pages, softcover, over 100 illustrations
ISBN 978-1-804513-97-2

This is the first volume on the British South Africa Police Air Wing. Basically, this is the story of the police air wing in Rhodesia and this edition covers the time of 1967 to 1974 Rhodesia was a nation that had a lot of area but a fairly small population. There was a need for a police air wing to respond to medical and natural emergencies as well as being able to reach fairly isolated locations in the country.

As the increase in insurgency rose, the need for an air wing became even more pronounced. Unable to fund a state police air wing, volunteer reserves were required more and more. These were civilian light aircraft flown by basically civilian pilots. As the lethality of the opposition increased, so was the installation of guns in several light aircraft as shown in the cover image. Interestingly this was a standard installation that only required the removal of the front seats for the brace after which the seats could be reinstalled.

This volume consists not only of the on-going history of the wing, but also a lot of pilot and ground crew stories as well as a nice selection of photographs. These images cover not only the aircraft used, but also many of the personalities involved. It is one of those books that draws you in as much due to the uniqueness of the operations as anything else. The author has done his homework on this one to make for a fascinating read and one I know you will enjoy.

November 2023

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