RAF cadets of Class 42D parade through Lakeland, Florida, USA, on Armistice Remembrance Sunday 11 November 1941

The first aeroplane ever touched by the author - Stearman PT-17, Lakeland, Florida, 1941

Vultee BT-13 basic trainer with Pratt & Whitney 450hp engine, Macon, Georgia, 1941

"Wings" graduation day, Craig Field, Selma Alabama. L/R - Hubert Wiek, Malcolm White, Bill Wood - each wearing USAAC as well as RAF wings.

Just cannon fodder? Bill Wood at No 55 OTU, Annan, Scotland 1942.

No 6 Squadron, Western Desert, June 1943 ( Bill Wood fourth from right, back row)

No 6 Squadron aircrew post-mortem after an abortive tank-busting op. Western Desert 1943.

The "3Ws", India 1944. L/R Bill Wood, Malcolm White, Phil Williams.

Bill Wood on the starting block prior to leading convoy of new Spitfire MkIIIs across India, west to east. Bombay, September 1944.

The only record of the three members of the world's first jet aerobatic team (No 54 Squadron, Odiham, 1947) in front of one of their Vampire Mk Is. Bill Wood (left), Mike Lyne (second left) and Colin Colquhoun (right). Also pictured is Tommy Balmforth - OC Flying, RAF Odiham. Source: Aeroplane)

Atlantic crossing aircrew at Odiham with Vampire Mk3 before departure. L/R Jeep Hale, Ricky Wright, Frank Wooley, Buck Courtney, Bobby Oxspring, D S Wilson-MacDonald (Force Commander), Micky Martin (Met Mosquito), Bill Wood, Taffy Evans, Roy Skinner [Colin Colquhoun missed the photo call].

The six Vampire Mk 3 aircraft which made the first jet Atlantic crossing followed by Canada/US tour. Bill Wood's aircraft VT 864 is nearest to the camera

Pilots of Colonel Schilling's F-80 Shooting Star USAF team and No 54 Squadron's RAF Vampire team meet at Bluie West 1, Greenland, on 14 July 1948 during the race to be the first to cross the Atlantic by jet. Author front row, fourth from left.

Presentation to author, Odiham team Captain, of RAF soccer Junior Challenge Cup by Air Vice-Marshal T G Pike, AOC 11 Group, Fighet Command, February 1950.

Author standing by his 229 OCU aircraft after Vampire forced landing on Woolacombe beach, North Devon, 8 May 1952

Author selects Vulcan B Mk 1 airbrakes to "high drag" setting for deceleration to formate on camera aircraft during RAF Handling Squadron trials, Boscombe Down, 1957 ( (c) British Crown Copywright/MOD)

Author pulls Victor B Mk 1 XA 922 into USAF-style "chandelle" during test flight from Boscombe Down 1958.( (c) British Crown Copywright/MOD)

Victor XA 922 in author's hands, overflies Stonehenge, Wiltshire 1958( (c) British Crown Copywright/MOD)

Author with wife Dorothy and Daughter Barbara after Air Force Cross investiture, Buckingham Palace, July 1960(Fox Photos Ltd)

Author (right) and co-pilot Reg Wareham in Victor pre-flight technical discussion with Chief Tech Dowling, RAF Handling Squadron, Boscombe Down( (c) British Crown Copywright/MOD)

Leader of BAe Aircrew Publications team, Ian Craig, presentas author (left) with Sea Harrier model at British Aerospace, to mark author's retirement from RDT3. Kingston-upon-Thames 1986.

Mechanic busy under vast delta wing area of author's Vulcan XA 895, Boscombe Down 1975. Aircraft is on loan from No 230 OCU at RAF Waddington, hence the tail motif) ( (c) British Crown Copywright/MOD)