Rise and Defend – The USAF At Manston 1950-1958


Taken over by the United States Air Force in 1950 as a direct result of the developing chill of the Cold War, the ex-RAF station at Manston in Kent served as a forward air base from which American aircraft could be rapidly deployed to meet the threat of incoming Soviet bombers, with an intercept area well away from the UK mainland. Manston also served as a base from which USAF forces in Europe could be speedily reinforced and also hosted some of the earliest helicopter-equipped dedicated SAR squadrons around the British coast.

Despite never firing a shot in anger, the Manston-based units played a major role in the development of operational use and tactics of jet aircraft such as the F-84 Thunderjet, the nuclear-armed Thunderstreak and the F-86 Sabre in their numerous variants. The difficulties and tribulations attached to these sometimes led to situations of extreme danger for the crews, but also occasionally of farce. In the end, Manston was closed as a USAF base — not for military reasons, but in the interests of noise abatement… The author tells it as it was and the result is a fascinating record of the men, machines and operations out of Manston.


Duncan Curtis served in the Royal Air Force for 24 years as an airframe and engine technician. He is a specialist on the F-86 Sabre and has had five earlier books published on the subject. He is married and lives in Wiltshire.


  • Photos/Illus: b&w and colour photographs throughout plus 16 page colour section
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Flight Recorder Publications Ltd; First Edition edition (31 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954560558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954560553
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.6 x 29.8 cm

You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. Irvin J Pugh says:

    I was stationed At manston AFB 4 years with USAF leaving aroud 1957 or 8. I would like a copy of your book if it us a talking book .Also history and US personnel from that period of time

  2. Alan Cloke says:

    Perhaps you can help me I am trying to trace my father possibly al or bob who was stationed at Manston about the same time as you he met my mother Beatrice affectionately known as Pat

    • Barbara Robson says:

      I am in a similar position to yourself Alan. I want to trace my American father and learn if I have any half brothers or sisters. His name may be Leroy Wesson. I was born in January 1958. My mother’s name was Vivien, also known as Viv.

  3. Tina says:

    I found my 1/2 sister, who’s father was American and based at Manston, through DNA testing. My sister had passed but her daughter also did the DNA test and we linked.

  4. Pete says:

    Hi Irvin, I lived near Manston and can remember the Americans stationed there, I was 10 yrs old and the an American Officer let me and my mate play in a grounded Lancaster Bomber. Would you know about Lancaster?

  5. Beverley says:

    I am lead to believe my natural father was an American based at Manston, or the Ashford base, in 50’s.
    I was conceived around Christmas 1956.
    Does anyone have any photos of their notorious Christmas parties or know of the name Gerry Zimmia, or something like that.
    My natural mother’s name was Phyllis Davieau/Phyllis Sergant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *