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Air Commodore Phil Wilkinson

Phil Wilkinson’s 40 years in the Royal Air Force (RAF) involved thousands of hours in the air – in the skies over many parts of the world. His time on the ground was equally challenging, including exchange appointments at both the French and United States Air Forces War Colleges, and assignment as commander of the RAF station in Berlin at the time of the Fall of the Wall. His final period of duty was based in Moscow, as Defence and Air Attaché, during the turbulence of Russia’s emergence from the Soviet era.
During those three and a half years, he travelled widely across the former Soviet Union, including journeys to Murmansk and Archangel, accompanying RAF and other British veterans as they re-visited the scenes of their operations in World War Two. 600 RAF men, and aircraft to form two ‘Hurricane’ squadrons, made up the cargo of the first-ever Arctic Convoy, in August 1941. Those veterans are still linked and supported by a Royal Air Force Russia Association, of which Phil is the director. They, and naval Convoy veterans, are on hand at ceremonies at the Soviet Memorial in London, honouring the 27 million Soviet Union victims of the Second World War. Phil is a trustee of the fund maintaining that memorial.
In retirement, he has lectured widely on these and other themes. His lectures, and his published articles, cover a range of British – Russian relations and interactions, cultural as well as military, and reflect on his own transition from Cold War warrior to military diplomat at a time of great change. The central theme – the interaction between the RAF and Russia during a shared century – is examined in detail in his recently-published book, ‘Red Star and Roundel’.

Air Commodore Phil Wilkinson is on the following tours: