REVIEW: VICKERS WELLINGTON Owners’ Workshop Manual by Mark Barnes



Root around in your garage, shed or the dusty end of your book shelves and you will find a Haynes manual for a car you once had. It will have oil stained dog eared pages. I’ve got them for a VW Golf my wife cherished, a 2CV we adored and a beloved Renault 5 we still miss even though it has long since gone into legend as the car blown up at a military vehicle event when it’s useful life was clearly at an end. I can’t throw these books out.

You can still get Haynes manuals, of course, but there’s no disguising the fact that a lot of manufacturers obviously don’t play ball these days. My response to that is a resounding “Yah, boo sucks” because they have always been bloody useful books, free of the hard sell and all about getting the job done. I am a mechanical dunce so I have always relied on them.

Some years ago, when we were expanding the HMVF forum website into something a bit more lively with more features, we began reviewing books and stuff. It is the direct ancestor of how you find yourself reading this. One of the best gigs was attending the press launch of the stunning Haynes manual of the Avro Lancaster at the RAF Museum. There I was with the press pack, a bunch of worthies, my son James and the crew of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lanc…and well known writer Pat Ware. It was a surreal experience. I took a lot of photos, got my book signed and ate a lot of sausage rolls. The book was and is magnificent.

Here we are now and Pat has done a few MV related books for Haynes. The series has expanded and they have done some singularly off the wall things, but they have all been entertaining and done with style and humour.

The aviation and military stuff continues and here we have the Vickers Wellington by the diligent Iain R Murray.  The Wellington is that wonderful “Basketweave Bomber” and the magic of Geodetics we all know, forever linked to it’s designer Sir Barnes Wallis the genius we link to other events of a bouncier nature, but there was so much more to him. I wonder why he hasn’t been on banknotes or had statues unveiled. Perhaps he left instructions to the contrary. I distinctly hope not.

I suppose my first thought is this book is virtually unreviewable. The style and quality is exactly the same as the Avro Lancaster book all those years ago. The attention to detail is identical. The format is practically the same. The whole thing mirrors those books about Cortinas, Cavaliers and Maestros. It’s a case of changing names and subject matter and altering the essentials. The formula is tried and tested. The same amount of effort goes into it. The high quality is all there. Heart and soul. I love it.

I suppose I’d like a few more pictures, but that’s me. But the central core of the book is its towering strength. For here we learn all about R-Robert the amazing Wimpy raised from Loch Ness, lovingly restored and on display at Brooklands. I’ve never seen it. I have to put that right.  The description of this makes the book worth it for this alone.

It is hard to believe so few Wellingtons survive. But there was no room for sentiment in 1945 when the victory of Bomber Command slipped from triumph into embarrassment of our fickle political masters and the mighty bomber force went hastily for scrap.  There were others of course, in Coastal and other roles, but we tend to think of Target For Tonight and Pickard and all those men who died over the Ruhr rather than the countless other over than the Med or elsewhere, don’t we? Cruel, but true.

There were others of course, in Coastal and other roles, but we tend to think of Target For Tonight and Pickard and all those men who died over the Ruhr rather than the countless others over the Med or elsewhere, don’t we? Cruel but true. There is one at Hendon and the above mentioned R-Robert. This wonderful manual takes you to the heart of an amazing aeroplane. It is British engineering at its very best. Be proud.


Mark Barnes

1936-1953 (all marks and models)
Owners’ Workshop Manual
By Iain R Murray
Published by Haynes Publishing £21.99
ISBN: 978 0 85733 230 1

Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longstanding friend of WHO, providing features, photography and reviews. He has contributed to The Times of London and other publications. He is the author of The Liberation of Europe (pub 2016) and If War Should Come due later in 2020.