A few months ago, I posted an article about the participation by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the CIA’s U-2 programme between 1958 and 1960, based on files declassified by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD).
I have now written a second article, which has just appeared in the RAF Historical Society’s Journal (No 77). Whereas my first article concentrated on the political dimension, this one describes in greater detail the operational aspects, in particular the two overflights of the Soviet Union that were flown by RAF pilots: PROJECT OLDSTER The RAF and the U-2 1958-60 for RAFHS Jun21
Although I wrote in some detail about these missions in 50 YEARS OF THE U-2, the declassified MOD files reveal much more. These missions were meticulously planned, to take into account so many variables that could affect their success.
My article was originally intended as a lecture in a seminar on Cold War Intelligence organised by the Society, that was unfortunately cancelled because of the pandemic. There are seven other articles on this subject in Journal 77, including one by Air Cdre Ian McBride, on flying the U-2. Air Cdre McBride was one of the last two RAF pilots to fly the U-2, in 1973-74.
The RAF Historical Society publishes three copies of the Journal each year. There are more than 150 pages in each one. The main content comprises transcripts of lectures that have been given at the Society’s twice-annual seminars, which examine a particular aspect of RAF history each time. Membership of the Society is open to all, for the bargain price of £18 per annum: RAF Historical Society Membership Form August 2021
For those reading this who are already members, I will be the speaker at the Society’s Annual General Meeting, to be held at the RAF Club in London on Wednesday evening,
8th September. In this talk, I will concentrate on the personal reminiscences of the RAF pilots who flew the U-2 from 1958 to 1960.