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Somme Harvest: Memories of a P.B.I. in the Summer of 1916
Somme Harvest: Memories of a P.B.I. in the Summer of 1916
by Giles E. M. Eyre
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for Gt War enthusiast, 19 Feb. 2007
Sub titled "Memories of a B.B.I. in the Summer of 1916" his excellent and very moving volume recalls the war time experiences of a rifleman whilst serving in the 2nd Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps as he fought in the trenches of France in the period between May and July 1916.

Some may of course wonder how one man - an ordinary Rifleman, could fill a 260 page volume with his experiences, for what is, in the whole context of the Great War, a relatively short period of time. Having read the volume from cover to cover, I can now appreciate that this brave but amazingly un-decorated man experienced more fighting and scenes of death and carnage than many did in the whole of the war and perhaps their lifetime too.

The author enlisted in August 1914, and having served in one of the two Special Reserve battalions at Sheerness, was soon posted to 7th KRRC (one of the first of that regiment's Kitchener battalions) at Winchester. He moved to France with his battalion in May 1915 and subsequently fought at Hooge when the Germans used the dreadful flame-thrower for the first time and on the 30th July that year alone, his battalion suffered no less than 300 casualties. In December 1915 he too was wounded and returned to England to convalesce. hence the reason this account opens after he returned to France, when his new battalion (2 KRRC ) launched a large scale raid on the Triangle at Loos - a raid which cost over 240 casualties, including Rifleman William Mariner VC, who was blown to pieces in front of the author! Graphic descriptions of further bitter fighting follow and cover subsequent events up until the actions at Bazentin and Pozières Ridge where his battalion commander, company commander and sergeant major were killed and he was eventually taken prisoner.

Military historians with a general interest in the Great War and family history researchers with a special interest in the King's Royal Rifle Corps will find this volume fascinating. Many men are mentioned by name too, therefore aiding research.

It is yet another excellent value for money volume from this publisher that so many of us a grateful to, for making our research affordable.

Operation Plunder and Varsity: The British and Canadian Rhine Crossing (Battleground Europe)
Operation Plunder and Varsity: The British and Canadian Rhine Crossing (Battleground Europe)
by Tim Saunders
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for those interested in WW2, 13 Feb. 2007
Here is yet another splendid volume from Pen and Sword's Battle Ground Europe series of books. These excellent, highly illustrated and handy sized volumes provide the military historian, casual reader and researcher with a wealth of information that in my opinion, is invaluable during research into the particular campaign covered and thanks to the excellent suggested itineraries also included, is especially helpful when touring the actual battlefield areas themselves.

The author - a serving British Army officer and notable military historian to boot, has a wealth of operational experience behind him. He already has nine publications in this series to his credit and in this particular volume, he successfully tells the fascinating story in both words and excellent pictures of the allied 21st Army Group Rhine crossing in March 1945. Although "Plunder" was the overall name for the entire operation, each of the major elements had its own codeword - "Turnscrew" and "Torchlight" for the British assault and river crossing and "Wigeon" and "Flashlight" for the crossing by XVI US Corps.

The book concentrates on the crossing of the Rhine by the Commando Brigade, 51st Highland Division, 15th Scottish Division and of course the DD tanks. The epic battles in the towns of Wesel and Rees are covered in detail and give locations to enable the visitor to trace the course of the action. Outside the towns, in more familiar open battlefield touring country, the author relates how the Scots overcame the defenders to link up with 6th Airborne Division. Operation "Varsity" is covered in outline only in this volume, as it will be a Battleground title in its own right later this year. The finally is the expansion of the bridgehead by the Canadian Highlanders, who at the sleepy village of Bienen finally defeated the fallschirmjager and panzer grenadiers, thus `Kicking open the door to the heart of Germany'.

This book is without a doubt a useful tool for the busy battlefield guide / traveller and researcher. The operation was a success and I am sure this excellent value for money readable book will be too. Pen and Sword have done wonders in the increasing the size of the volumes in this series whilst maintaining the very reasonable price - the Operation Plunder title is the largest so far.

British Regiments, 1914-18
British Regiments, 1914-18
by E.A. James
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No military historian or militaria collect will want to be without this!, 8 Feb. 2007
It is no wonder that the Naval & Military Press, publishers of this excellent volume, boast that this is their best selling, most used and most useful Great War title, as I honestly believe, that any military historian, battlefield guide, Great War enthusiast, militaria collector or serious family history researcher, should not be without a copy in their own personal library!

This marvellous publication, a concise compilation of two volumes in one cover, is the result of many years painstaking research at the Public Records Office, the Ministry of Defence and specialist libraries and museums, by a most experienced and dedicated man. The reader will no doubt, find amongst its pages, a remarkable amount of fascinating information on every British Army formation that existed in the period between 4th August 1914 - the day war was declared, through to the 11th November 1918, when the Armistice was signed.

31 regular and 17 reserve Cavalry regiments, 57 Yeomanry regiments, together with their second and third line regiments and an amazing, 1750 Infantry battalions, (making a grand total of 227 regiments), are covered in the most accurate and concise detail. In each case, the location of every major British Army unit, its regular, territorial force, reserve, service, Officer Cadet and training battalions, at the outbreak of the war is listed. Further details relating to dates of subsequent new formations and changes in locations throughout the war are included too. Accurate summaries pertaining to Battle Honours, awards of Victoria Crosses and casualty figures, are once again covered in the same impressive detail and provide an additional wealth of information, in the very useful appendices included, making this an invaluable source of reference, that I certainly, would not wish to be without!

Without Tradition: 2 Para - 1941-1945
Without Tradition: 2 Para - 1941-1945
by Robert Peatling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the Airborne Forces Enthusiasts, 8 Feb. 2007
The superb book tells the remarkable story, of the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, which was formed in September 1941, when men from various units of the British Army volunteered for parachute duties. The attraction of an extra 2 shillings a day (.10p in today's money) attracted hundreds of potential recruits for this new Regiment, however as experience was to prove, only one man in three actually possessed the necessary mental attitude and physical fitness to complete the demanding training and earn the right to wear the coveted maroon beret and distinguishing qualified parachutist wings.

Within the first three years of its formation, 2 Para had already taken part in five daring airborne operations behind enemy lines and as a result, earned five out of the eleven Battle Honours emblazoned on the Regiment's Standard, along with many honours, decorations and awards, which included one officer of the Battalion being awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his supreme courage, leadership and devotion to duty during the now legendary battle for Arnhem!

The author has successfully produced a brilliant volume, that is Packed full of fascinating facts and information relating to the daring actions of the brave men of this, one of the most elite units of the British Army. Eyewitness accounts of veterans have been included, along with excerpts from the Battalion War Diaries too. The comprehensive appendix includes a list of officers who served with the battalion throughout the war, along with a detailed roll of honour and an honours and awards list and therefore this publication will be invaluable to the military historian, battlefield guide and researcher alike.

The Workhouse: The People - The Places - The Life Behind Doors
The Workhouse: The People - The Places - The Life Behind Doors
by Simon Fowler
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding volume on one of the aspect of life, we want to forget., 6 Feb. 2007
This excellent book will fascinate a wide range of readers and should help local, social and family history researchers.

Simon Fowler looks at the whole experience of the pauper in the workhouse and clearly explains the reasons why they were so treated.

The author's style is excellent, his narrative is easy to read and is quite often amusing with some very useful and humorous anecdotes that make it different from other titles on the subject.

Although the workhouse often had a bad name, which was not helped by a number of scandals in the 1830s and 1840s as well as novels such as Oliver Twist. Some good often came out of it and, as the author points out, many children did in fact receive a better lifestyle and education in these institutions, than they would have done had they remained with their parents or extended family in the hovels of the poorer areas of the country.

There is no doubt that this book has been well researched. It provides the reader with a good insight into how these establishments came about and also how they were managed and run too. The best chapters relate to children and the sick and elderly which really gives an idea of how they were treated and the fact that in most places conditions improved during the 19th century.

I read a previous review and can agree this is a not a volume aimed at academics, yes there are one or two spelling mistakes here and there, but for the general reader it is fascinating -so much so a history lecturer friend of mine has already borrowed it and one or two others have asked where they can get it from!

Get more stocks in Amazon - this will be a success.

Old Soldiers Never Die.: Old Soldiers Never Die.
Old Soldiers Never Die.: Old Soldiers Never Die.
by Frank Richards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of the highest acolades, 5 Feb. 2007
When asked to recommend one or two books covering the Great War, I have always suggested Martin Middlebrook's " First Day of The Somme" as a starter, however, having read this most excellent volume I firmly believe that this

title is without a doubt a must read too and therefore a very valuable addition to any military historian's library.

This splendid publication - heralded as one of the finest memoirs of the Great War ever written, follows on from Frank's previous volume (Old Soldier Sahib) which excellently detailed his pre war service in India and Burma. Having been recalled to the colours, this particular volume takes over where the last one left off and provides the reader with a fascinating insight into his experiences between 1914 and 1918.

Frank landed in France in August 1914 and like many British Tommies soldiered in some of the worst conditions imaginable. How he and many others managed to survive this conflict as his friends and colleagues were killed within inches of him on an almost daily basis I will never know- I can only presume he had a guardian angel looking kindly on him.

His graphical and remarkable account of the fighting and life in the trenches is a true tribute to those who fought and so often died for the freedom. There are however light hearted moments too as he describes the gambling, drinking and fatigue dodging and other scams that were also part of everyday life - however in the face of adversity, it is good to know the British soldier still had a sense of humour, a will survive and to carry on as normal as possible.

Frank Richards was a obviously a very modest man. Despite being awarded the DCM and MM during the war, he made only a casual mention of it in his book. He was a very talented man too, to be able to write in the style he has, is a credit to him. This book will provide readers with a very entertaining read and a superb source of reference for many generations to come.

In summary, I have just one word to sum the volume up - remarkable!

Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front
Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front
by Richard Holmes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Holmes at his best!, 2 Feb. 2007
Thomas Atkins or Tommy for short, the affectionate nickname often used throughout the world for the British Soldier, first came about in 1815, when the name was used as an example, showing soldiers of the day how to fill out the name section in their Soldiers Pocket Book!

This superb book, written by Britain's top military historian - Professor Richard Holmes, tells the fascinating story of the ordinary British Soldier during the Great War. Covering just about every angle of the ordinary soldier's daily life ("warts and all") from the day he enlisted through to the day he was either de-mobbed or was killed in action, this brilliant book makes compelling reading for the family, military or social history researcher, the battlefield tourist as well as those who just like a "good read",

The author is a most brilliant story teller, he has the reader hanging on his every word and the detailed and fascinating narrative in this volume, is backed up by many superb black and white photographs, making this publication an excellent source of reference and exceptionally good value for money and a must for any bookshelf .

Saint-Nazaire: Operation Chariot - 1942: Battleground French Coast
Saint-Nazaire: Operation Chariot - 1942: Battleground French Coast
by James G. Dorrian
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A splendid account in both words and pictures, 2 Feb. 2007
This excellent publication, detailing the daring British commando raid on the French, Atlantic coastal port of St Nazaire , is the latest title in the superb Elite Forces Operations series of books from specialist military book publisher - Pen and Sword,

Mainland France had been under Nazi occupation for almost two years as the Spring of 1942 approached and as successive months passed, the enemy seized the opportunity to reinforce its foothold in the region further by building up its defences against a possible allied invasion.

St Nazaire's excellent location and unique, vast dry dock facility at the mouth of the Loire, afforded Germany's Kriegesmarine the opportunity to operate and maintain the largest of warships in it's fleet (including the infamous Tirpitz), whilst at the same time, being able to monitor and subsequently attack Allied shipping, carrying crucial cargoes of personnel and supplies, as it entered the Western Approaches from the Atlantic Ocean.

Under the code-name "Operation Chariot", the large-scale commando raid, aimed at destroying the port's famous Normandie Dock was launched. Making use of HMS Campbletown - a converted US Navy destroyer, loaded with high-explosive as a battering ram, their target was reached successfully at the dead of night. As the ship deliberately hit the dock, our elite forces, swarmed over the surrounding port area, destroying key installations and facilities, causing the maximum damage possible. The determined efforts of this group of exceptionally brave men (five of whom were subsequently to be awarded the coveted Victoria Cross) paid off and the mission was deemed - successful, however the cost was high, resulting in many of our troops being killed, wounded or captured.

This splendid book makes interesting reading and will therefore prove invaluable to anyone intending visiting the area, studying the operation or researching the war service history of a relative involved. It includes many excellent black and white photographs and maps, plus a superb colour section featuring the weapons and equipment used at the time. The detailed eye witness accounts and citations for the five Victoria Crosses awarded are especially interesting and as a result, I am sure the reader will not be disappointed.

Wellington's Regiments: The Men and Their Battles, 1808-15
Wellington's Regiments: The Men and Their Battles, 1808-15
by Ian Fletcher
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Will appeal to a wide range of readers, 2 Feb. 2007
Written by a leading authority on the Peninsular War, this superb book will without a doubt appeal to all military historians, battlefield guides, militaria collectors, modellers and wargamers alike.

Wellington's Regiments is in fact a re-issue of a fascinating book detailing the twenty four actions (from the battle of Rolica early in the Peninsular War in 1808 through to the famous Battle of Waterloo in 1815) in which the "Iron Duke's" troops bravely fought and for which, they were subsequently to be awarded coveted battle honours.

An unbelievable thirty two pages of beautiful full colour plates, together with many splendid maps, diagrams, photographs and drawings bring the book "to life" and support the fascinating text that cleverly covers the service record of every single cavalry and infantry regiment that served under this great soldier during a most interesting period in history in one brilliant volume.

An excellent
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Hitler's Spy Chief: The Wilhelm Canaris Mystery
Hitler's Spy Chief: The Wilhelm Canaris Mystery
by Richard Bassett
Edition: Hardcover

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A unique volume, 1 Feb. 2007
Admiral William Canaris head of the Abwehr (the German Secret Service between 1935 and 1944, was described by his Russian opposite numbers as "the most dangerous intelligence man in the world!" However despite his high profile and most trusted position and originally being loyal to "the old Germany", he gradually became disenchanted with Hitler's Nazi regime and as evidence shows, he became involved in an aborted coup d'etat in 1938. As war broke out, it was his belief that Germany could not win and it is then, he commenced a "campaign from within" to sabotage Hitler's war machine.

This unique volume - the first ever biography of Admiral William Canaris to be published in English, is based on original research by the author, who having spent a vast amount of time delving into both the British and German archives, tells the fascinating story of a most intriguing man, who was personally involved in a number of what many considered to be foolish acts during the Second World War. These included a secret meeting with the head of British Intelligence in Gibraltar in 1942 in attempt to bring about peace, to saving the lives of many Jews. As Canaris's connections with Winston Churchill dated as far back as the Great War, he actually leaked the German invasion plans to Churchill and in a further attempt to delay the same invasion, he also overestimated the strength of British forces in reports back to Hitler!

Throughout the war, just one man - Reinhard Heydrich Chief of the SS Intelligence Service suspected Canaris and eventually threatened to tell Hitler of his exploits, however within a few weeks, Heydrich was assassinated by the British and Canaris lived another day. Canaris's fate was eventually sealed in the aftermath of the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler. He was arrested by the Nazis and executed in the last week of the war.

I enjoyed this excellent title immensely and am sure it will provide fascinating reading for those with a serious interest in military history. It includes superb photographs of the personalities involved, an organisational chart of the Abwehr as well as a detailed bibliography to assist with further reading.

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