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The Pegasus Diaries: The Private Papers of Major John Howard DSO [Hardcover]

John Howard , Penny Bates
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 Sep 2006
John Howard's name will forever be linked to the highly successful Pegasus Bridge assault by his glider-born company of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. His men regarded him with awe and his courage and toughness were bye-words. However this book reveals the human side of the man as well as providing a graphic account of the preparation, actual operation and aftermath of this iconic raid.The Pegasus Diaries is a book that will be enjoyed by men and women alike, presenting as it does a complex man often torn between his high sense of loyalty to his men and devotion to duty.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (21 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844154467
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844154463
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 15.9 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 661,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Certainly one for WW2 enthusiasts 29 Nov 2006
Basically this is the biography of Major John Howard DSO, the courageous British Army officer who led the attack by the 6th British Airborne Division on the bridge over the Caen Canal of the River Orne in June 1944.

Having said it is a biography and a most enjoyable one at that, this interesting volume based on Howard's own diaries and papers and co-written with his daughter, provides the reader with a fascinating insight into the man himself, as well as conditions on the home front in the latter years of the Second World War. The majority and most interesting part of the book however is devoted to the recruitment and subsequent training of a battalion of the Airborne Forces for D-Day as well as the actual invasion itself.

Howard and his men of the 2nd Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were amongst the first troops to land on enemy held soil on D-Day. Transported by Horsa gliders, they were towed across the English Channel by Halifax bombers and having been released from their towing aircraft at 8000 feet, they remarkably landed within meters of their target - a target that had been chosen as it would be via this bridge that the enemy would aim to re-enforce their positions in Normandy in the event of invasion.

John Howard died at the age of 86 in 1999. As a result of his actions during this particular campaign, Howard was awarded the DSO and Croix de Guerre with Palme, however many consider that a far greater and lasting tribute to him and his brave men was the fact that the road that crosses the bridge was re-named Rue John Howard and the bridge itself is now known both locally and internationally as Pegasus Bridge.

This volume will appeal to a wide range of readers from anyone who enjoys war biographies to those with a special interest in events at this time. It will no doubt be popular with military historians and anyone whose ancestors actually fought there.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read with a very personal touch 22 Jan 2008
When I heard about the release of this book I rushed to buy a copy. Having read it, I was NOT disappointed, more delighted with it's content. It was thrilling to read Major Howard's own words and to hear more about life away from the war. A real insight into the mind of a great leader.

I would whole heartedly recommend this book to any WWII enthusiast!

Danny Greeno
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pegasus Diaries 18 Mar 2009
A superb, well written biography. Hard to put down!!
An honest and sometimes too honest description of the Ox & Bucks and D-Day.
Would recommend this to anyone
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diary of a brave man 22 July 2008
By Tony B
Coup De Main: From the French meaning `A strike or blow of the hand'.

`An offensive military operation that capitalises on surprise and simultaneous execution of supporting operations to achieve success in one swift stroke.'

On the night of the 5th & 6th June 1944, three gliders carrying troops of the Ox's & Bucks light infantry set out towards to two key bridges, over the River Orne and Caen Canal, in Normandy. Executing what was later described by the Allied Air force Commander in chief as `The finest piece of pure flying of World War Two' Staff Sergeant Jim Wallwork landed his glider on the wire defences. The rest has gone down in history as a classic coup De Main operation.

The officer commanding the force was Major John Howard DSO, the bride over the canal has since been known as `Pegasus Bridge. There

is a tendency for later generations to assume that things just happened, a highly trained force was magiced into existence, a plan formed and everything just went the way they were intended.

This book proves that such things don't happen with out a great deal of work and worry. The book covers the in depth training and problems preparing for D-day, both military and personal. The actual raid on the bridges is almost passed over; Major Howard shows his concern for his men was deep felt by making much more of the later battles in the villages of Escoville and Herovillette. The pain he feels at the causalities is very obvious.

Prepared from Major Howard's personal diaries by his son and daughter, this book could be described as a posthumous autobiography. It must have taken a lot of thought before the family decided to publish.
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