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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Troop Leader, 18 July 2009
By 
CAB Sanders - See all my reviews
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Well written, thoughtful, and readable, - and without bravado. This is (with Stuart Hill`s memoir) one of the better accounts of a young officer`s experience in the NW European 1944 to 1945. I particularly like Bellamy`s description of the occasion when he "ticked off" both his commanding officer (Col Cuthy Goulburn, 8 Hussars) and his brigadier (Brigadier Loonie Hinde 22 Amd Bd) for giving away the position of his camouflaged tank by walking up to it.

He got away with it -both men had a sense of humour, and were quite un-pompous. Also, of course, Bellamy was right. But, he was told by his adjutant "not to do it again!"

Recommended

Andrew Sanders
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet reality, 30 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story (Paperback)
This book does not tell of mighty clashes of armour or glamorous dashes across France.It deals with the day to day business of tank men. Sometimes seemingly uneventful days,until the death of a friend is mentioned. Imagine fixing the tracks on a tank in the pouring rain,in the mud and then having to just get back in covered in mud and carry on as usual. If you are interested in tank warfare read this book. It may not 'wow' you, but it will make you think about what men like this quietly endured.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eminently Readable, 13 Feb 2012
By 
D. Jones (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story (Paperback)
Bellamy's book is partly an extension of his diary and partly his recollections. His writing style is engaging, faithful and sincere. His recollections of the war and are as good as his recognition that he was a young man with a lot to learn, but knew what was right and what was wrong. He doesn't blow his own trumpet but simply seeks to represent the war as he saw it. I loved reading every word of this book and every page held a story/fact/anecdote - to the extent that I'm giving it 5 stars.

Quite simply, it's brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative read, 3 Jun 2009
This review is from: Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story (Paperback)
A story of hopes and fears in tank warfare during the last months of WW2. Very evocative for me as I lost a favourite uncle, also in the Armoured Division, who died just weeks before the end of hostilities.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I wasn't there., 4 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story (Paperback)
I enjoyed reading Bill Bellamy's account of his service during the war. His writing style makes you feel like you would have been friends with him had you known him. His words exude quiet dignity but make you glad that you didn't have to witness some of the terrible events that he did such as the French farmer and his family being butchered by the SS for helping the invading Allied forces.

There are also some funny events that are written with dry wit that made me chuckle and the sense of cameraderie comes through in the words. This book does not glamorise war and is not an account of large scale epic tank battles so if you are after that kind of read you will need to find a different book but if you are interested in the humanity of war then I recommend this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quietly Superb., 2 July 2009
By 
Mr. D. Hamilton "Duncan Hamilton" (Hove, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story (Paperback)
One thing I've found in the years I've been studying military history, and in particular World War Two, is that quite often, the very best accounts of life in war which one can hope to find is from those who are not considered heavyweights in this field of expertise.

The weighty tomes which the likes of Holmes, Beevor, and Keegan are wont to turn out are often towering works of collections of individual snapshots of combat collected into a collage of personal experiences which will often leave the reader shocked, appalled, enthralled, or inspired, but rarely all together; Rarely do these books, for me at least, encourage much empathy with the men and women whose experiences they describe; their desire to encompass as much as they can often leaves one cold.

Troop Leader, by dealing with one man's experiences alone, certainly help provide the 'personal' account of war which is so often lacking in the aforementioned styles of authoring. The book rarely deals with combat per se, but concentrates on the minutae of life with an armoured division; the trivia, the boredom, the randomly violent nature of warfare, and very occasionally the gruesomeness of events unfolding around him. Interspersed with humour, narrow escapes, and 'in hindsight' observations, Troop Leader is most certainly a great read, so much so that I read it in 24 hours.

If it lacks anything it is actually that the story stops too early. Bill Bellamy served on past the end of hostilies, and it would have really finished the story off if we could have been treated to his wry observations on the Challenger and Centurion tanks.

The only other point to mention for those seeking to learn about the visceral terror of combat (which in no way is to detract from Bellamy's efforts) is that as a Cromwell commander late in the war, don't expect much in the way of actual combat - Cromwells were predominantly armoured recce and were not often to be found 'in the thick of it' - tank-on-tank combat is limited to some 'SP Guns' (Sturmgeschutz by the sounds of it) and possibly a Panzer IV.

Recommended for those interested in the more day-to-day elements of armoured campaigning.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Troop Leader, 5 May 2014
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Very good description of tank operations during and after D-day. First hand detail of everyday life and conditions during the invasion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous read, 17 April 2014
By 
GDD (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story (Paperback)
I didn't know Bill Bellamy RIP but I served with his son in his father's regiment. We too were tank men, of a different age. Bill's memoir is one of the most honest and down to earth recollections of life inside tanks that I've ever read except for Richard Napier's "From Horse to Chieftain's" also about the 8th Hussars.

The British cavalry are elite but that doesn't lead to any arrogance. On the contrary they adopt a relaxed but professional approach to everything as reading this book will show. It's not a question of how high you can jump when receiving an order, it's all about doing the job to the best of your ability.

As an avid historian I read this book with delight. As an Irish cavalryman myself I was proud of reading about Bill's achievements and those of his crew. For anyone who has ever served in the 8th, QRIH or QRH (Queen's Own and Royal Irish), I would say: get a copy of this book while you can because your bookshelf won't be complete without it - it's part of your history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Tank Commander's Story, 2 April 2014
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This review is from: Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story (Paperback)
The book title says it all as we follow Bill through his ealry days in the army and travails across Africa to the grind of being a troop leader in Normandy. There are naturally highs and lows to this tale, but Bill's writing style is very engaging and carries things with wit and humanity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Modest hero, 16 Mar 2014
By 
Keith F. Massey (England) - See all my reviews
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The word hero is probably one of the most over used in the dictionary when it comes to military matters.
However in this case it is certainly applicable.
Told with engaging modesty this is the account of a tank commander's experience s in the latter part of the Second World War.
The author tells his story in a very matter of fact way which makes it all the more fascinating and quite moving. It's as though he has a job to do and gets on with it. It is hard to appreciate that he was only 21 years old at the time.
He deals with the excitement and danger of combat as well as the comic side of life and the personal tragedy of the death of friends and family.
An excellent book written by a very brave man.
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Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story
Troop Leader: A Tank Commander's Story by Bill Bellamy (Paperback - 15 Mar 2007)
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