From humble beginnings in the South Yorkshire countryside of the 1920s, Eric Markwell was typical of many young men who felt called to serve in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. 

Enlisting in 1942, he qualified as a bomber Pilot, flying B24 Liberators against Japanese targets in Burma and Thailand, during the late-war Far East campaign.  

Post-war, Eric’s RAF service would extend through the Cold War and into the late 1970s, when retirement allowed his civil aviation career to begin in earnest. 

Flying was Eric’s lifeblood for an incredible 48 years. Both in wartime and peace, he lived and breathed a pilot’s life in ways that few others have and eventually gained operational experience in over 63 types of aircraft.

IF IT HAD WINGS is Eric Markwell’s unique story, richly illustrated with photos and details of many of the aircraft he flew.


The book contains the following:

  • Eric's story, running from early childhood to retirement and later
  •  Appendices covering:
    • Glossary of Terms
    • Historical Context Notes
    • A list of the units in which Eric served
    • An illustrated section covering the various types of aircraft Eric flew
    • 150+ archival photographs
    • 7 maps

Buy The Book And Support A Charity!

With the release of If It Had Wings, the authors have chosen to donate a proportion of all received royalties to the RAF Benevolent Fund. The work of the Fund is close to the book's themes and the authors' hearts.

All editions of the book are available via Amazon.


Since its foundation in 1919, the RAF Benevolent Fund has been there, through thick and thin, supporting the RAF Family. It is an independent charity and receive no regular Government funding. It relies entirely on public support to continue their work.

Discover more at the RAFBN website.

“His flying experiences are well-related, but the more mundane—and sometimes intimate—details of service life are equally fascinating.

… a good human story, illustrated with black-and-white images from Eric's collection and elsewhere.

...excellent value...”

Dennis Calvert - 'Aeroplane' Magazine

“I just finished reading your great book!

…Your father’s log of his military service is incredibly detailed and interesting. What an amazing experience!

…the historical pictures are particularly fascinating…

Congrats on a well-organized and well-written documentary of your father’s flying career!"

Aviation Professional

“Really enjoyed it!

… the story of a life well-lived.

…a job he loved and enjoyed.

What more can a man ask for?”

Reader Review

Eric Markwell…

…came from a humble background in the Yorkshire countryside of the 1920’s. His father was a jobbing gardener of modest means. In common with many young men of the time Eric was attracted to aviation which although developing fast had its origins in the Wright brothers first successful powered, controlled flight only 20 years before Eric was born.

Eric enlisted in 1942 and trained in Canada before flying B24 bombers out of India against Japanese targets in Burma and Thailand.

After a brief post-war return to banking, Eric re-enlisted in the RAF. This led to a long career that featured postings to the UK, Germany and southeast Asia (where he was primarily based in Singapore).

After retiring Eric went on to fly as a Flight Examiner with the Civil Aviation Authority and finally in what we now call business aviation – a total of 10797.25 hours on 63 different types (82 if you count sub-types).

Alan Markwell…

Like his father before him, Alan has dedicated his life to aviation. From early life—spent as an 'RAF child' in Germany and Singapore—his parents, Eric and Georgie, instilled in him the value of living in different countries and interacting with diverse cultures as a unique form of education. This perspective has only grown in significance during Alan's four decades of travel.

After completing his schooling, Alan pursued a degree in Air Transport Engineering at The City University in London, sponsored by British European Airways (now British Airways Engineering). This educational path not only allowed him to study aviation engineering but offered insight into running businesses, particularly the challenges of an aviation busines. Subsequently, Alan worked for the airline, gaining experience in aircraft maintenance and contributing to the cutting-edge Autoland program.

Transitioning to an American company based in the UK, Alan assumed the role of Sales Engineer, engaging in the design and sale of engineered aircraft components and systems. His responsibilities took him across Europe, the United States, and India. After nearly a decade, Alan had risen to the position of European Sales Director before venturing out to establish his own company, providing similar services and building a team in the UK, across Europe, and collaborating with partners in the United States.

Throughout this journey, Alan also embraced the art of flying, taught to him by his father, which he continues as both a hobby and a means of business travel. His profound interest in historic aviation led him to research and write this book, a tribute to his father's service, and a homage to all RAF personnel, particularly those trained with Eric who did not return from their service, during and after World War II.

Contact co-author Alan Markwell today!

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