One moment the sky would be full of aircraft wheeling and positioning for the best shot at the enemy; a sky full of danger and menace. The next instant there would just be a clear blue empty sky with the sun shining down on a calm and beautiful landscape. Such was the phenomenon experienced by pilots who fought in the key battles of France and Britain in the Summer of 1940.
Tag: WW2 Page 1 of 5
Historian Kate Werran lays bare a hushed-up ugly incident in Allied relations during WW2 when friction between black and white GIs stationed in the Cornish town of Launceston flared up into an armed uprising which led to a hasty court martial, lingering resentment and sharply divided loyalties. Here she talks about, and reads from, her book An American Uprising, and describes her lifelong attachment to Cornwall.
The first edition of Men of the Battle of Britain by Kenneth G Wynn was published by Gliddon Books in 1989. It was quickly established as a standard work of reference, though, as a senior RAF officer stressed to me recently, it is considerably more than that. A supplementary volume followed in 1992 and a second edition appeared from CCB in 1999.
Airmen’s Incredible Escapes
Veterans’ accounts of survival in the Second World War
During the current pandemic front line health workers do their job day after day to save lives, and in doing so many have lost theirs. In the Second World War amidst all the destruction and killing, there were also people everywhere who risked their lives, often losing them to save others. Sometimes, when airmen were shot down and faced unimaginable danger, and hope of survival was near gone, someone stepped forward to help. Such helpers also placed themselves in similar peril or worse, and did so over and over again.
An Overview to the New Book:
Eyewitness RAF: The Experience of War 1939-1945
In his forthcoming book: ‘Eyewitness RAF,’ military historian and author, James Goulty, discusses the experiences of men and women who served with the wartime RAF. On mobilisation in 1939, RAF strength was 117,890 and this was rapidly increased by the addition of around 58,000 reservists and auxiliaries, albeit substantial numbers of these lacked training. From this relatively humble beginning, a large wartime force emerged that served around the globe. By 1944, when wartime recruiting ceased, approximately 1.2 million men and women were serving with the RAF, seventy percent of who were employed in non-flying trades. This highlights the immense effort that was required to support operational units. In contrast, trained pilots and aircrew held an elite status, not least because they were highly motivated and only five percent of those that applied for aircrew training were successful. As former bomber pilot and POW, Wing Commander Ken Rees, observed, aircrew were ‘hot stuff.’
There was a war on 80 years ago when my parents married, and like many couples, they couldn’t live together. My father, Bernard Harris, was an army bandsman on combat training with his regiment, ready to be posted abroad. Over the summer of 1940, they spent time camped out on Newmarket racecourse.