‘Bolts from the Blue’ by Sir Richard Johns
‘From Cold War Warrior to Chief of the Air Staff’
Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns GCB KCVO CBE FRAeS was born in Horsham, Sussex in July 1939, and became a career flyer in 1959. After service as a front-line pilot and commander he attended Staff College in 1972. Following this and a tour as personal staff officer to the AOC-in-C Near East Air Force in Cyprus, Air Chief Marshal Johns began his association with the Harrier and commanded No. 3 (F) Squadron at RAF Wildenrath and RAF Gutersloh, Germany. After a staff tour in the MOD, he returned to Gutersloh in 1982 as the RAF Germany Harrier Force commander. The RAF Germany Support Helicopter Force was also under his peacetime command at Gutersloh where he qualified as a captain on both the Chinook and Puma helicopters. After attending the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1985, the Air Chief Marshal was posted to HQ RAF Germany as the senior air staff officer with the was appointment of Commander Air 1 (BR) Corps – an appointment he exercised on nine deployments of the Corps Headquarters.
On retirement in April 2000 he was appointed by The Queen as Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle – a position held until January 2008 when he retired for a second time to Wiltshire. Also in 2000 Sir Richard’s appointment as the first Honorary Air Commodore of the RAF Regiment was approved by Her Majesty. A past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the RAF Museum, he is now president of the RAF Historical Society. He is married and lives with his wife in Wiltshire.
His illustrious career gave him the privilege of a rare, if not singular, perspective of the RAF. His views are forensic and forthright, balanced and thought-provoking and this autobiography should be essential reading for anyone interested in the development of air power over the last fifty years.