Book Review: Harrier 809.

This book was recommended to me from a gaming WhatsApp group I’m on. As I’ve probably mentioned before on this blog the 1982 Falklands War was the first war I can really remember (I was 4 at the time) just vague memories of the news really…

… Rowland White made his name with the superb Vulcan 607, highly recommended, and this his latest book follows a very similar pattern, dealing as it does with the same war and also the same sort of improvised and muddle through to pull it out of the bag in the end in the best British military tradition. Harrier 809 follows the story of the efforts to pull together the 3rd Sea Harrier squadron that was sent down to the Falklands. Cobbling together pilots and airframes from wherever they could be found the squadron sailed south on the ill- fated Atlantic Conveyor, albeit the squadron’s aircraft were flown off and split between the two aircraft carriers. The story of the assembly and deployment of this third Harrier squadron was new to me but I did expect the rest of the book covering the air war to tread more familiar ground. This was mostly the case but there were some very interesting snippets of information that were new to me, regarding the deployment/ sale to Chile of the Canberra reconnaissance aircraft and the relationship between Chile and the UK. Still even the bits I was familiar with were a pleasure to read again given the quality of White’s writing.

All in all, I strongly recommend this book and it is a great addition to my Falklands War library.



11 comments on “Book Review: Harrier 809.

  1. Martin Rapier says:

    I do like a Harrier. Interesting about the Falklands being the first war you can remember. Being an old crock, for me it was Vietnam and the 1967 Arab Israeli War.

    • Pete S/ SP says:

      Thanks Martin. It was on good old John Craven’s Newsround. It did a great job of delivering adult news in a format that children could understand. My other memory from around that time was recieving a commerative mug when Charles and Diana got married. I think they must have been given out in nursery. Oddly, outside of the Troubles in NI, I don’t remember much of the 80s wars aside from the situation in Lebanon.



  2. Jeff Groves says:

    Sounds like a fascinating read, I’ll look for a copy. I remember taking a history class during the Falklands War, the lecturer (an ex SAS officer who fought in WWII and Korea, among other places) opening his classes with summaries of the news reports and his interpretations.

  3. borderguy190 says:

    I would have been 8, but being on the other side of the Pond, I dont recall hearimg about it as it was happening. Ill have to look for this book.

  4. Nice post Pete. I was at USMA during the Falklands and we followed it closely. Afterwards, we were privileged to have a lecture presentation from several of the British infantry officers and NCO’s who were there – replete with a robust question and answer session. Fascinating. Also, as far as memories of first wars, mine would be Vietnam. Also I remember seeing a lot of anti-war protests, as well as all the assassinations in 1968. My earliest memories go back to 1966. Damn I’m getting old.

  5. Mark Flanagan says:

    I enjoyed it too! Good book, adds a lot of background detail!

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