Thunder & Lightnings

British Aircraft Corporation TSR2 - Links, References & Credits

TSR2 - Britain's Lost Bomber
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References - Books & Films

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TSR2 - Britain's Lost Bomber by Damien Burke

ISBN 978-1847972118

Published by Crowood, 2010

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Naturally I'm biased but I think this is the reference work on the TSR2! 351 pages covering every aspect from the background to the requirement, competing designs to GOR.339, design and build, test flying, structure, electronics, weapons, the cancellation and unbuilt versions. Over 400 illustrations, many in colour. More info here.

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TSR2 - Lost Tomorrows of an Eagle by Paul Lucas

ISBN 978-0-9551858-8-5

Published by SAM Publications

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An entertaining look at what might have been if the aircraft had entered service, with bags of colour drawings showing wild and wacky weapons loads and various RAF paint schemes (no foreign ones though - a major missed opportunity). Generally well researched but occasionally hard going especially when you get into details like paint formulations. Well worth getting hold of and a good companion volume to my own book.

TSR2 With Hindsight

ISBN 0 9519824 8 6

Published by RAF Historical Society, 1998

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A short print run make this a tricky title to get hold of - thankfully it can be downloaded as a PDF file from the RAF Museum website, here (Journal 17B). It contains accounts of the various discussions held at a seminar on the TSR2 held in 1997, attended by many of those involved with the project. Refreshingly open and critical of all that went wrong, this is a warts and all overview and a must-read.

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TSR-2 Phoenix, Or Folly? by Frank Barnett-Jones

ISBN 1 870384 27 X

Published by GMS Enterprises

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A detailed account of the TSR2 programme (from before it started right up to the restoration of XR222) that used to be regarded as the TSR2 bible, though it turns out that there are quite a few errors in it. The author was involved in the restoration of XR222 at Duxford, and the book is understandably scathing of the treatment the programme received from the government. Includes information on the whereabouts of all known remaining TSR2 components at the time. Recommended. It was reprinted in 1998 but is currently once again out of print.

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Wings of Fame volume 4 by Bill Gunston

ISBN 1 874023 71 9

Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd.

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The ever-excellent series of volumes includes this one which is worth buying for the TSR2 article alone, never mind all the other excellent articles. Development history, technical description, detail colour images, cut-away and colour profile. Some inaccuracies and obviously retouched photos detract from the article.

Historical Series No.15: Olympus - The First Forty Years by Alan Baxter

ISBN 1-9511710-9-7

Published by The Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust

Includes around 25 pages on the development of the Olympus used in the TSR2 with several black and white pictures. Also has Vulcan material; well worth getting hold of.

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The Murder of TSR-2 by Stephen Hastings

Published by MacDonald, 1966

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The title says it all really. The content is non technical, dealing a great deal with the politics surrounding the cancellation and backed up by a fair amount of factual information especially concerning costs. The author was at the time a Conservative MP and a director of Handley Page Ltd. Because it was written shortly after cancellation it has virtually no hindsight element to it, which makes it worth seeking out and reading as long as you bear in mind how much of the real problems of the project were unknown publicly at the time. Extremely one-sided of course, and rare these days so can be very expensive.

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Phoenix Into Ashes by Roland Beamont

ISBN 7183 0121 8

Published by William Kimber, 1968

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Long out of print, this is the TSR2's original test pilot's account of his flying career, with a section on the TSR2. If you can find a copy, worth a read.

Testing Early Jets by Roland Beamont

Published by Airlife, 1990

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Includes a chapter on the TSR2 with 6 pictures and a mass of flight log information.

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The Years Flew Past by Roland Beamont

Published by Airlife, 2001

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Includes some mention of the TSR2 but by this time Bea appeared to be writing from memory without checking his own logbooks - and gets badly confused about which flight was which. For the record, when he mentions flight 3 he means flight 5; flight 4 means flight 7; flight 5 is flight 5! He also mentions a major technical problem with the undercarriage on flight 1 - there was no such problem, as he makes clear shortly afterwards, and also makes an error about the speed at which he deployed the braking parachute on flight 1.

Project Cancelled by Derek Wood

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Covers a number of experimental types and nearly-made-it programmes, including the TSR2. Both the 1975 and 1986 editions devote one chapter to the 'run up' to the TSR2 and one chapter to the TSR2 itself. Long out of print but often available second hand at fairly reasonable prices.

British Experimental Jet Aircraft by Barry Hygate


Published by Argus Books, 1990

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Includes 13 pages on the TSR2 with a double-page layout of artwork/diagrams.

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English Electric Aircraft and Their Predecessors by Stephen Ransom and Robert Fairclough

ISBN 0-85177-806-2

Published by Putnam

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Design, development and histories of every English Electric aircraft, including a good but dry section on the TSR2. Recommended generally, but not a book purely on the TSR2.

TSR2 - The Untold Story

Published by DD Video

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A video/DVD on the TSR2 affair, worth getting for the sequences of the TSR2 flying alone. Uses much footage from the time interspersed with interviews with many surviving personalities that were involved. Dennis Healey is the only 'anti-TSR2' figure to take part in the film, which is accordingly highly weighted towards the whole 'murder of a superjet' view of things. Highly recommended for the flying scenes; not quite so much for the numerous inaccuracies - Beamont in particular by this time was coming out with some clearly inaccurate statements e.g. talking about burning airframes, with magnesium parts "burning like a holocaust" - the TSR2 contained no magnesium and no airframes were burned, only a wooden mockup.

References - Magazines


This section would have been greatly the poorer without contributions from the following - so many thanks to (in alphabetical order):

BAE Systems Heritage, Frank Barnett-Jones, Phil Callihan, Dick Clements (RIP), Burkhard Domke, Keith Dugan, Martin Gatter, IR & AL Fowler, Tony Hewitt, Rick Kent, Garry Lakin, Evan L. Mayerle and Martin Pengelly.

Tony Hewitt would welcome correspondence with others to exchange TSR2 reference material - write to him at
48 Mill House Drive,
ST10 1XL