A Bucket of Sunshine - a term coined by RAF aircrew for the nuclear bomb that their aircraft would be armed with - is a first-hand insight into life in the mid-1960s on a RAF Canberra nuclear-armed squadron in West Germany, on the frontline in the Cold War. The English-Electric Canberra was a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers in the 1950s. The Canberra B(I)8, low-level interdictor version was used by RAF Germany squadrons at the height of the Cold War. Mike Brooke describes not only the technical aspect of the aircraft and its nuclear and conventional roles and weapons, but also the low-level flying that went with the job of being ready to go to war at less than three minutes' notice. Brooke tells his story warts and all, with many amusing overtones, in what was an extremely serious business when the world was standing on the brink of nuclear conflict.
Wing Commander Mike Brooke AFC RAF joined the RAF in 1962. After serving on No.16 low-level strike/attack squadron, Brooke became a flying instructor and experimental test pilot. In 1984, after twenty-two years in flying appointments, he was sent to the RAF Advanced Staff College and promoted to Wing Commander, taking command of flying at RAF Farnborough. Brooke later became a test-flying consultant, finally retiring in 2004. He has flown around 7,300 hours on 140 types of aircraft of all classes except seaplanes. In 1984, he was awarded the Air Force Cross by HM Queen Elizabeth and is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.