In the following video Pen and Sword author Geoff Simpson tells us all about his new book A History of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association. Enjoy!
2019 saw two major Second World War Anniversaries: the 75th anniversary of D-Day and that of the largest airborne operation ever mounted, MARKET-GARDEN, Field Marshal Montgomery’s audacious plan for British, American and Polish airborne troops to seize the bridges over the rivers Maas, Waal and Rhine, and hold them pending relief from advancing ground forces. The plan was to bypass the fortified Siegfried Line and enter Germany through the back door, quickly occupying the enemy’s Ruhr industrial area – and end the war by Christmas 1944…
Squadron Leader Brian Lane DFC and Spitfire!
On 21 September 1940, Flying Officer Stanley Devon, an award-winning press photographer whose services the Air Ministry had officially engaged, visited Squadron Leader Douglas Bader’s 242 Squadron at the Duxford Sector Station, taking air-to-air pictures from a Blenheim of the swashbuckling, legless, ace leading his Wing. Afterwards, Devon took many photographs of 19 and 616 Squadron’s Spitfires and personnel at Duxford’s Fowlmere satellite – superb images recording fighter squadrons at the height of the epic Battle of Britain.
The 24th April 1915 marks the start of the Armenian Genocide, where over 1.5 million Armenians were murdered.
Armenian Genocide is a new, gripping short history that tells the story of a forgotten genocide: the men and women who died, the few who survived, and the diplomats who tried to intervene. We currently have the eBook edition available to purchase for only 99p.
Here’s an exclusive look at the introduction.
As I write, the world is in turmoil owing to a new disease, which nobody, at least in the western world, had heard of until only a few weeks ago. Today, we have all, surely, heard of the dreadful Coronavirus and are affected by it, at best, through the essential ‘social distancing’ measures and current ‘lockdown’, and at worst, tragically, losing a loved one to this lethal virus. Desperate times indeed, an altogether new ‘Darkest Hour’, which, apart from a selfish and irresponsible minority, the nation is facing with courage and collective resolve. At this terrible time, good news seems in short supply – and yet, amidst all this fear and uncertainty, earlier this week I watched the most heart-warming and uplifting BBC TV interview of one Hylton Murray-Philipson, a sixty-one-year old who, after twelve days in Leicester Royal Infirmary, had beaten the dreaded Coronavirus and now revelled in the sheer joy of being alive, in the process giving thanks and paying tribute to the kind, caring, professional and courageous NHS staff to whom he owed everything. Mr Murray-Philipson, in fact, likened these wonderful people, professionals and volunteers, to ‘the Spitfire pilots of 1940’ – which rather resonated with me in this, the Battle of Britain’s 80th anniversary year. This inspirational interview can be watched here.
LIGHT DIVISION IN THE PENINSULAR WAR
Tim Saunders and Rob Yuill both served in the British Army with The Rifles, successors to the Light Division. Since retiring Tim has become an established author, film maker and battlefield guide, while Rob also guides and as a Civil Servant oversaw the Regiment’s heritage and its treasures. Both have a lifelong interest in military history and the Peninsula War in particular. Their two volume history covering the Light Division in the Peninsula War, is a subject that brings regiment and a love of history together.
Today we have a guest post from Pen and Sword author James Goulty, looking at the experiences of soldiers during World War Two.
The Second World War Through Soldiers’ Eyes is due to be published in a paperback edition in May. It is currently available to order in hardback and digital editions here.
THE RHINE CROSSING
OPERATIONS PLUNDER AND VARSITY
23 March 1945
The optimism amongst the Western Allies following the defeat of the German armies in Normandy, was dissipated by the failure of Operation Market Garden and the bitter fighting on the borders of the Reich, all of which condemned Europe to another winter at war. In the new year having contained Hitler’s Ardennes offensive and reduced the resulting ‘Bulge’, the Allies concentrated on closing up to the Rhine. In the north, Second Canadian and Ninth US Armies fought through mud and floodwaters to clear the Rhineland’s woods, towns and villages. Their objective was to secure a firm grip on the banks of the, Rhine from where they could mount an assault crossing and envelope the engine of the German war machine, the Ruhr, thus bringing the war in Europe to a close within weeks.