HMS Ark Royal was the most powerful warship the Royal Navy had ever put to sea.50,000 tons of British Sovereign Territory - a floating airfield that was home to 2700 men, a stockpile of nuclear weapons, and the most modern, capable air force in Europe. But by the early seventies, Ark Royal was in the twilight of her career. Only kept in service to help face down the Cold War threat from the powerful Soviet Navy, it seemed Ark would play no further part on the world's stage.
Then, in January 1972, intelligence reached Whitehall that British Honduras - now Belize - was threatened with imminent invasion. To defend the colony Britain's response had to be immediate and unequivocal.And Ark Royal offered the only effective means of preventing the little Central American country being overrun by battle-hardened, US-trained Guatemalan paratroops.But to do so the old carrier would first have to endure a destructive, high-speed 1500 mile dash across the Atlantic towards the Gulf of Mexico. Only then would it be possible to execute an audacious, record-breaking plan to launch a pair of Buccaneers on an extraordinary and unprecedented long-range mission. It was an operation loaded with difficulty and danger.
Drawing on many hours of interviews with the participants and previously unseen, classified documents here and abroad, Rowland White, bestselling author of Vulcan 607 has pieced together this remarkable episode for the first time.And has brought to life a unique, unfamiliar and thrilling piece of post-war British military history: the world of the Fleet Air Arm's last Top Guns.