Tomas Yonge

Tomas Yonge

Department of History
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Britain’s place in a changing world: the Nimrod procurement and the Wilson government 1964-65
Supervisor: Dr Armin Grünbacher, Dr Jonathan Boff
PhD History


  • MPhil Modern European History, University of Birmingham, 2013
  • BA Modern History, University of East Anglia, 2006


Tomas Yonge has served as a Weapon Systems Officer (Navigator) in the Royal Air Force since 2006, flying operationally on multiple aircraft including the Nimrod MR.2 maritime patrol aircraft. In 2011 he was selected for a Chief of the Air Staff Fellowship to study for an MPhil at the University of Birmingham researching post-war maritime patrol aircraft developments. The doctoral study represents an extension of this earlier research.


By 1965 an economically weakened Britain was forced to face the choice of retaining an expensive world role and being a global ally of the United States, or of becoming a smaller European power focused on entering the European Economic Community and demonstrating this commitment to the continental powers. The choices made in RAF aircraft procurement in 1964-65 reflect the difficult balancing act attempted by the Wilson government to be all things to all allies whilst reinvigorating the domestic economy and securing an increased parliamentary majority.

The wider decline of Britain as a global power is a well trodden path, however this research looks at the issue in a new manner by focusing on this short yet pivotal period of time and seeking to understand the British aims, ambitions and strategies for reshaping the relationships with America and the European powers through the powerful levers of military aircraft procurements.