Copyright © 2012 Paul McDonald

Winged Warriors –The Cold War from the Cockpit charts a path over many obstacles and challenges before Paul could wear an RAF pilot’s brevet. He went on to serve for thirty four years which included fourteen years overseas. He describes his flying tours on four separate operational squadrons which ranged from low level photo reconnaissance on NATO’s vulnerable southern flank to tours on Tornado strike/attack squadrons in NATO’s Central Region, only minutes from responding in full measure to an anticipated Soviet onslaught. All of this was at the very height of the Cold War.

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Copyright © 2012 Paul McDonald

7 Squadron

14 Squadron

20 Squadron

XIII Squadron

Paul became a flying instructor on five different types of aircraft and spent four years at the heart of the RAF’s flying training system. He commanded the Flying Training Wing of the world’s oldest flying training school - No 1 Flying Training School at RAF Linton-on-Ouse and he offers a detailed insight into RAF flying training. He was also a Member of the Directing Staff of the prestigious Royal College of Defence Studies in Belgrave Square, London, which gave him rare and privileged access. Later he served in Kuwait from 1998 to the days preceding Gulf War II. He describes how he was a ‘fly on the wall’ in the Kuwait Air Force Headquarters and the only ‘Brit’ in the Kuwaiti War Room to witness at first hand Operation Desert Fox, the air war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in December 1998.

During his thirty-four years regular service, Paul visited and operated from some fascinating and intriguing places including Canada, Cuba, East Berlin before the Wall came down, Egypt, Germany, Jordan, Kenya, Iran, Italy, Israel, Malta, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, and the United States. He also had meetings with Royalty and Heads of State including one with Yitzak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel, only a few short weeks before he was so cruelly struck down by one of his own.     


The now long-forgotten Cold War was not just a hyphen between World War II and conflicts in the Gulf and Afghanistan. It dictated the lives of many people throughout the world for forty-five years. Winged Warriors goes some way in describing a Service and part of its history, and what that Service was called upon to do during the Cold War and the latter part of the twentieth century.