This book was actually purchased as a Christmas present for my sister, who "Lives to read" and especially books from the WW11 period,(we lived in Sratford, London during that time and are not unfamiliar with UXB's) written by "People who were there" or related by such people to the author. My sister is a harsh critic of any book from this period purporting to be factual and "Real." Her report to me is that she finds this book very hard to put down. It contains a great deal of information and personal experiences that she has not read before and although she has not finished it yet, there has not been one adverse comment. Personally speaking, I am only concerned that the level of excitement may be too much for someone in their late eighty's.
My sister is not an easy person to please, no-one gets rubbish past her, therefore on her recommendation, I have no hesitation in giving this book Five Stars. If you think that this is just ancient history and doesn't really matter, these people lived (and many died) doing this work. To bring a little bit of realism into it, imagine sitting at work in front of a UXB, instead of your computer and your boss telling you to de-fuse it."Sorry, they didn't send the instructions with it." One false move.........
The author didn't believe that the true story of Bomb Disposal had ever been written and so has written an authorative and enlightening book. It covers the incredibly amateurish beginnings in WW2 and the petty political fighting of the various departments wanting control over it and the research. It describes the efforts and risks taken by people from all walks of life to disarm explosive devices in any number of dangerous conditions.
In a strange way it's reassuring to know that some things never change. For some time bomb shelters owned by councils were always closed at weekends and the cosy footage we see of people enjoying themselves whilst sheltered in large communities within tube stations in London were far from the truth. The RAF wouldn't release details of its own bombs to our bomb disposal teams, so they knew less about them than the German devices on the occasions they needed to make them safe. I also never realised just how much damage the V1 bomb inflicted. I always believed it was produced too late in the war, but the government itself suppressed details of the damage it caused.
A lot of very human stories are told within these pages and there are detailed references at the end of the book for each chapter.
The story of technical and human issues that surrounded handling unexploded bombs and mines is one that needs to be told. The all around courage and sense that lies at the heart of this endeavour makes this an essential read. From a look at the design of the fuse technologies to the methods used to overcome and defeat these fiendishly ingenious devices is told without loosing sight of the fact that at the end of the day someone put their life on the line to win. We were lucky to have had such people willing to do what is genuinely dangerous work.
The contribution of the RAF and "the few" to winning the Battle Of Britain has been well documented and remembered.Less so the Bomb Disposal teams.Whilst their courage was recognised at the time with the GC and the GM they are not musch spoken about when the Blitz is mentioned.Yet they did heroic work,living with death every time they went to defuse an UXB.this is a gripping account of their war.I have to admit that as i am not technically minded some of the technical explanations went over my head.also the book is slightly slow in getting started.there is for example a chapter on the Earl Of Suffolk.Although engagingly eccentric it does not really add much to our knowledge.however when the author sets out the stories of the teams the book really takes off.To read what it was like to survive a bomb explosion only to have to pick up the pieces left of the rest of the team,to walk into a pub to find the occupants sitting in their seats stone dead..A great book.
I have read this book twice in hard copy from our library and had trouble putting it down. When I saw a copy for Kindle I couldn't resist getting a copy of my own. This is a great story of the technical aspects of bomb disposal and of the courage of the men who pitted their wits against the German fuse designers in outer to save lives and property during WW2.
This excellent book deals with the exploits of bomb disposal units concentrating on the heroics of four.Many George Crosses were awarded-one went to the savior of St. Pauuls cathedral who was later sentenced to 18 months in prison for various offences. It was Churchill in 1940 who required the formationof the units as he recognised the dangers of unexploded bomds(UXBs)as approximately 8-9% of bombs dropped failed to explode. The author records that there is no memorial to the bomb disposal units and their very slow recognition and value of their activities by the other armed services. He also states that vtwice as many men died in bomb disposal than in the Battle of Britain. Very well researched and a grand memorial and tribute to heroic men.
Having seen Bomb disposal close up as an ex serviceman this book filled in a hudge gap in my knowledge about the people involved in the disposal of unexploded devices both enemy and our own during world war 2 am now going to read the activities of the UXB Malta GC personnel as a follow up an excellent read.