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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stringbag strings you along to the end!, 6 Sep 2002
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This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
This is simply one of the best autobiographical war books I have ever read. Charles Lamb manages to communicate the fear and thrills of flying in wartime like no other.
His descriptions of night time torpedo attacks against Italian shipping in the Med are worth the cost of the book on their own.
However any Francophiles will be suprised by Mr Lamb's description of his "internment" by the Vichy French which is as harrowing a read as any could wish for.
An excellent book and an ideal holiday reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best...., 20 Feb 2008
This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Probably one of the best 2nd world war flying story there is. (Also "First Light" takes some beating).

If this story were fiction you would think it was too far fetched.
If you are a pilot yourself it is even more amazing to appreciate some of the navigational aspects of flying for hours over water, at night, without a GPS, and then finding your "floating" landing strip.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, gripping read., 14 May 2004
By 
Bartfarst (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
An uplifting and inspiring account of extraordinary bravery and sacrifice. Quite one of the best WWII accounts that I've ever read. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WAR IN A STRINGBAG, 21 April 2013
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This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
My partner bought this book and thought it was a brilliant book, he really enjoyed reading it, It was in good condition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sailors at war on land, at sea and in the air by a Courageous and Illustrious naval pilot, 12 May 2009
By 
L. E. May "Lester May" (Camden Town, London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
In the year of the centenary of British naval aviation (the Admiralty ordered the airship Mayfly on 7 May 1909), this wonderful book about the Fleet Air Arm at war seventy years ago is a treat.

It's literally so fantastic sometimes that one really does not want to put it down. At times his story had me in tears and at other times it was LOL funny! His story - surviving a torpedoed aircraft carrier, aerial combat in the Mediterranean and flying from the war-torn Balkans and Levant, then a prisoner-of-war - describes so much of the good and bad of war that it's a classic of conflict, heroism and leadership, too. Courageous and illustrious he certainly was, one cannot but feel that one really wants to be in the wardroom bar with a pint hearing the tales from him first hand. Charles Lamb would surely approve of your reading this with a glass or two!

For me, to read mention of my 'divisional officer' and boss in 1970-71, Charles Wines (1918-91), who was one of Charles Lamb's "RPOs" in Laghouat, was an unexpected bonus. Lieutenant-Commander (then Petty Officer) Charlie Wines was also a wartime Swordfish pilot; he later spent some 22 years, mostly at HMS Daedalus, Lee-on-Solent, as Fleet Air Arm Drafting Officer for aircrewman and non-technical FAA ratings. What a privilege it was to have known one of those magnificent men who flew the ubiquitous flying machines called Stringbags.

This book is a must for anyone who served in Royal Navy or the Fleet Air Arm - it's a very good read indeed. For those seeking to understand what their naval fathers, or grandfathers, did in the Fleet Air Arm from 1939-1943, this book will help set the scene.

Commander Charles Lamb went on to found and run the White Ensign Association which continues to this day to work on behalf of the Royal Navy. A salute to him, and to all involved with naval aviation!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible story more like a Flashman book than biography, 1 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Charles Lamb had an extraordinary war, in the thick of it from the beginning, his ship HMS Courageous was the first ship to be sunk in the War.
After surviving that he flew numerous mine laying sortie's on German shipping lanes and helped cover the evacuation at Dunkirk attacking E-boats. He then flew convoy protection in the Mediterranean.
At the heart of the book is an account of the attack on Taranto in November 1940. When the Fleet Air Arm, flying from HMS Illustrious, attacked the largest Navy in the world; in the most heavily defended harbour in the World; with some of the most obsolete aircraft in the world, and destroyed it as a fighting force.
This effectively changed history swinging the balance of power away from the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean, sounded the death knell of the battle ship, paved the way for Pear Harbour and gave Britain it's first victory in the War.
In response Hitler ordered a crack wing of Stuka's to sink HMS Illustrious. Which they attempted to do with great courage and determination. Shooting down Charles Lamb and crippling HMS Illustrious.
Charles Lamb was picked up by a destroyer - nearly sinking her in the process when the depth charge he was carrying exploded!
While he was enjoying the alcoholic hospitality on board the destroyer, the Germans continued to dive-bomb Illustrious as she was being repaired in Malta. After two weeks of repeated bombing they failed to sink her and she sailed to the safety of Alexandria.
Charles Lamb was then posted to, Greece, Albania and Malta where he attacked enemy shipping. From Malta he was recruited into clandestine activates, dropping agents into Vichy North Africa.
He was captured after landing in a salt marsh, and tortured by the French Secret Service. He gives a very detailed account of his time in a Vichy prison camp. Chronicling the petty brutality that characterised the regime and the desperation of his fellow prisoners in a very witty and often moving way. For example the Arab guards would shoot into the prisoners quarters when they sang pro-Gaulleist songs - one of which included All Creatures Great and Small.
After his liberation in 1943 Charles Lamb returned to active duty, which for me is where the book falls down, as he glosses over his activities in the Pacific and the attacks on the Tirpitz.
However all in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the Navy or war storeys.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great, honest story, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
This book tells the captivating story of one Airman's war. This classically-disarming narrative carries a subtext of real endurance, heroism and fortitude.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the best autobiographies you'll read, 8 July 2011
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This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I've read many books of this genre just lately and can safely say this one is the best so far. You can't help but admire Charles Lamb and be impressed by his story that will keep you gripped all the way through. His writing is always upbeat and fresh, no matter how traumatic the situation he is describing. He saw and did a lot of things from flying on the Taranto raid to saving and delivering agents behind enemy lines. Eventually after a crash landing he was interned by the Vichy French who treated him and the other internees very badly.

With Naval Wings: An Autobiography of a Fleet Air Army Pilot in World War II was my last book and although a five star read is not as good as this one. After reading these 2 books I have a new respect for the Fleet Air Arm and feel that they have not been given due credit for the work they did during the second world war. Their planes appear to be awful but both authors pour praise upon the swordfish which was obviously a much under-rated aircraft.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rule Britannia!, 17 Jun 2011
By 
Simon Doherty (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I simply loved this book, and was delighted to see others here feeling the same.

I actually met Charles Lamb when I was a young Royal Navy Officer at Britannia Royal Naval College. He came to discuss the White Ensign Association with us. He was a truly uplifting and inspirational older gentleman who looked so delighted to be amongst his naval brethren again.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. His description of being a POW of the French is very enlightening in showing just how much of their wartime history has been re-written by post-war France.

A great story for pilots and military history buffs alike.

Rule Britannia!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good biography covering a little-known service that was hugely important in the war, 6 Aug 2010
By 
D. R. Cantrell (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
The part played by the Fleet Air Arm in the second World War is little known, and this very accessible, clearly written autobiography by one of its pilots who served in some of the FAA's most important theatres does a very good job of bringing the FAA to greater attention.

It breaks down broadly into two sections: first, Lamb's time as a Swordfish pilot, predominantly in the Mediterranean theatre; and second, after a clandestine mission to land a spy in Vichy-controlled French North Africa went wrong, his year as an internee of the supposedly-neutral Vichy French regime, during which he and his fellow prisoners were treated badly. In both he shows courage and significant independent thinking. This is then followed by a very short summary of everything that happened between his repatriation and retirement, including his role in the Pacific theatre and in the Royal Navy in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

This is definitely a better biography than Wings on my Sleeve by his fellow FAA flyer, Eric Brown, as it actually contains a narrative story (well, two of them, one after the other, as noted above) whereas Brown's work (which is also worth reading, incidentally) reads more as simply a series of disconnected episodes: it comes close to being just a "shopping list" of planes that he'd flown.
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War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
War In A Stringbag (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) by Charles Lamb (Paperback - 30 April 2009)
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