The Ragged Trousered Airman

The Ragged Trousered Airman


Jack Davidson’s account of his years in the RAF during World War II is told with an honest approach that also reflects his great sense of irony.

Coming from a working class area he joined the RAF on 19th July 1940, aged 18, specifically because he thought he would otherwise have been conscripted into the army where he considered that there was more chance of being shot. In this he was proved to be wrong, for after his primary training he was instructed to be a machine-gunner and put on anti-aircraft gun posts at 12 Group Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain.

Following this he retrained as a ground observer, thinking that he would be safely tucked away waiting for German aeroplanes coming to bomb Great Britain. Here he was wrong again, as he was sent overseas and ended up travelling and observing across twelve countries including Africa, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Russia and Egypt. He was in Tunisia with the victorious eighth army observing for the RAF and the Royal Artillery.

Recounted in a candid narrative, this author does not pull his punches. His travels, active service and sexual activities are laid bare before us but, directly because of this straightforwardness, there are also moments of extreme poignancy.

ISBN: 9781852001452 

Size: 217x140mm 

Binding: hardback 

Length: 184pp

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About the Author:

Jack Davidson

The author left school at 14. He was apprenticed to a decorative artist until the age of 18, at which time he joined the RAF. 

Following his time in the services he worked as a decorative artist, eventually becoming a signwriter for a brewery. He was finally a technician in art and design at Bradford Art College. 

It was when visiting Tunisia on a scheme called ‘Heroes Return’ that he became inspired to write this autobiography of his wartime experiences.