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Haynes Owners’ Workshop Manual: Short Stirling 1939-48

Jonathan Falconer
I don’t think there is much need to explain the format for the Haynes OWM as we have reviewed so many here on ARRSE. This particular Manual deals with the WW2 aircraft Short Stirling. Now this was not a particularly small aircraft, as the name suggests, but was a four engine bomber designed and built by the Short Brothers aircraft company, but you probably knew that anyway.

The book follows the well tested and very good system of a brief history of the aircraft, then onto the anatomy and mechanics of the aircraft, taking each of the main sections of the aircraft and describing its design, functionality using excellent diagrams. There is also a complete chapter on the engines as these proved to be such an important factor in the operational height and capabilities of the Stirling.

The book then moves on to the human side of flying and maintaining the aircraft – what did people actually do? To do this, the author, Jonathan Falconer, uses stories and interviews with actual crew members and maintenance crews. It is all very well having a complex piece of kit if you don’t have the people to operate and maintain it and here we have their story. A very interesting section, especially the Flight Engineer’s point of view.

The book finishes off with the story of rebuilding a complete Short Stirling, how they got it, how replacement parts were found or more often made. This section includes pieces about the Martin Smith collection, where this rebuilt Stirling is housed, the RAF Museum and places that other Stirlings, or parts of can be seen.

As ever, the book is well illustrated with relevant and contemporary photographs, a very good Bibliography and Index.

Overall an excellent history of this iconic aircraft from World War Two, plus a look at the future of the remaining aircraft.

For aviation fans this would be a must for general reading though I will give this a well deserved three Mr MRHs.
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