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An Englishman at War: The Wartime Diaries of Stanley Christopherson DSO MC & Bar 1939-1945 [Kindle Edition]

Stanley Christopherson , James Holland
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

From the outbreak of war in September 1939 all the way to the smouldering ruins of Berlin in 1945, via Palestine, Tobruk, El Alamein, D-Day, Nijmegen and the crossing of the Rhine, An Englishman at War is a unique first-person account of the Second World War.

The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, Stanley Christopher’s regiment, went to war as amateurs, equipped with courage but very little else, and ended up one of the most experienced, highly trained and most valued armoured units in the British Army. Their journey through the war, learning through mistakes and tragedy as well as from a determined desire to improve, can, in many ways, be seen to reflect the experience of the British Army as a whole. From Alamein onwards, the Sherwood Rangers were in the vanguard of almost every action in which they took part, and over the course of the conflict, they amassed an astonishing thirty battle honours.

Christopherson himself was to rise from a junior subaltern to become the commanding officer of the regiment soon after the D-Day landings. He took part in all thirty battle honours, and collected a Distinguished Service Order, two Military Crosses and an American Silver Star, as well as being Mentioned in Despatches four times. His is an extraordinary story.

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"An astonishing record...There is no other wartime diary that can match the scope of these diaries, that can demonstrate the range of command within a British regiment, or that touches on so many of the key engagements of the British Army during the Second World War. Quite simply, there is nothing like it, and the opportunity to publish a complete narrative of the war, such as these diaries represent, will almost certainly never arise again." (James Holland)

"The Sherwood Rangers was one of the outstanding armoured regiments of the Second World War and Stanley Christopherson's diary, taking us through the desert war and the whole of Northwest Europe from Normandy to the end is a rare and valuable account." (Antony Beevor)

"There are many published diaries of British army officers in the Second World War, but Stanley Christopherson's is one of the best I have read. He gives a detailed picture of life as a tank officer in the Desert and Normandy, and pulls no punches. This is an outstanding contribution to the literature of the Second World War." (Professor Gary Sheffield)

"Brilliant. A really important source for the study of British war-making during the Second World War. It is also a tremendously observant account from the perspective of a brave and resolute army officer." (Professor Jeremy Black)

Book Description

A wartime diary of the Second World War unlike any other

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 15873 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (24 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IA4C7XQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,262 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a superb read 12 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is largely made up of diary entries until about 3/4 of the way through. Don't let that put you off. The style is interesting and I was absorbed all the way through.

As a war memoir the book is arguably without parallel. Very likely the best book of this kind I have ever read and I am left with the opinion that Stanley Chistopherson is one of the most remarkable men to have served in this remarkable regiment ever - never mind in WW2.

The book is also a social statement. The Sherwood Rangers, which SC was commissioned into from the Inns of Court regiment in 1939, was probably one of the snobbiest county yeomanry units in the UK prior to the war and I was amazed to find that, as they travelled to Palestine (complete with their horses - which wasn't unique as a number of cavalry regiments stayed on horseback at the start of the conflict) they brought with them their servants. I don't just mean individual batmen for the officers; I'm talking about a variety of servants from their estates, from grooms to butlers.

Also packed was cricket and other sporting equipment and that's probably not so unusual but many also packed sporting guns which were used often to bring in a few birds or rabbits to supplement the dinner fare in the officers mess. So many of his early entries refer to the quality of lunch or dinner and the many hotels and restaurants the commissioned ranks dined in during their posting to Palestine and junkets into Egypt and elsewhere.

The diaries which were used to compile the book read like editions of Boys Own in a very "Jolly good old boy" style. Effectively this is a story of weekend soldier (Territorial Army officers) from privileged backgrounds.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a wonderful read 10 Jun. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought An Englishman at War for my father s 85th Birthday present. He had served with the 17th/21st Lancers soon after WW2 and they often were connected to the Sherwood Rangers.

Since I gave him the book he has rung me every day with tales of the bravery and the wonderful stories of Stanley Christopherson and The Sherwood Rangers.

I can highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the War in particular after the recent 70th anniversary of D Day.

It gives extraordinary insight through the eyes of one man of pretty much the whole War in the West.

Stanley went from being a young inexperienced Cavalry Office having pretty easy time and very social time Palestine early 1939 to going on to be a highly decorated veteran with over 30 battle honours in North Africa and Europe, 16 of which were after he took over command of the Regiment on D Day.

The book is a wonderful read and really makes you feel as though that you are there with Stanley on his shoulder. It is often funny, really informative what it was like in the day and life of being an officer the war and also sad with the obvious loss of so many many friends. It also helped by James Holland’s contextual information which he punctuate the diaries.

It’s hard to find 85 year olds something they cherish!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I am a regular reader of wartime diaries and chronicles, though not usually as late as WWII. That said, this boom is absolutely riveting. it is quintesssentially the epitome of the true Englishman at War. As all wartime diaries it most frequently refers to the basics of life, food, drink (usually alcoholic) and relationships...whether they be with the troop or regiment.or with the local civilian population that the military met and befriended. The manner is factual, straight-forward and clearly honest (this is very often the case in British war my experience, other nations tend more to hyperbole and political correctness. It is a superb and possibly unique read. From the very beginning of the conflict in 1939 through to the end in 1945. Stanley Christopherson was blessed. Very few writers have survived through such a lengthy period, particularly those in the frontline. `It is a "must read" for any student of war, WWII or otherwise, and a "must read"for today's generation of young British nationals all of whom I am certain will feel humbled and grateful for the tenacity, persistence and long term confidence in the triumph of right over wrong that this tome displays. An excellent read and highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sherwood Rangers at war 22 Jun. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent book, covering the wartime exploits of the Sherwood Rangers, my father's regiment.

This is an excellent account from Christopherson's diaries, illustrated with photographs from the period. Well written and researched, with additional material included from a few other members of the regiment.

Very readable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of the most interesting and captivating books on WW2 that I have been lucky enough to read. The diaries accompanied by thoughtful but sensibly concise context from Mr Holland allow you to follow this remarkable journey from new recruit to decorated war hero through the eyes of the participant who by the end of the book you feel you know and wish you had met.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real War Story! 29 Mar. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story just about sums up Britain's war record. The regiment started the war with horses, then became artillery at first without guns, and then with a mixture of ancient british equipment and captured Italian stuff of dubious reliability, and finally a tank regiment, which after fits and starts eventually became a thoroughly professional outfit capable of defeating the best German formations. Stanley Christopherson's story outlines the frustrations and tragedies of ordinary men who became soldiers and were then subject to the orders of politicians and generals who often seem totally out of touch and unconcerned at the discomfort, lack of ameneties and risks the blokes in the front line faced, as well as the trauma of seeing your comrades wiped out in large numbers.
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