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West Country Regiments on the Somme
West Country Regiments on the Somme
by Tim Saunders
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £34.91

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb volume, 11 Jan. 2007
The 1st July 1916 - the first day of the Battle of the Somme, has gone down in history as one of the bloodiest days the British Army ever experienced! At 0730 hours on that fateful day, men of 14 British Divisions advanced slowly across "no man's land" towards the 18 mile wide, German front line. They expected little, if any resistance as the entire area had been subjected to a continuous bombardment during the previous week, however the German Army was at its most powerful and at the pinnacle of efficiency and as a result, our troops did not succeeded in gaining more than a small permanent foothold in the enemy positions! In fact, by the end of the day, no less than 57,000 of our troops had fallen and 19,000 killed!

As days, weeks and months passed, the battle continued, tanks were used in action for the first time in history and eventually, after four long months of fighting, Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig at last "closed" the battle on the 16th November. During this time, entire villages in the area had been reduced to rubble and the battlefield, now a sea of mud had claimed over 419,000 British Commonwealth and 650,000 German casualties!

Volumes have in the past been published on the famous "Pals" Battalions from the industrial towns and cities of Northern England and their contribution in the Great War, however to date, little has been written about the achievements and sacrifices of the regular and territorial battalions of either the Devonshire or the Dorset regiments.

Now, thanks to his extensive and painstaking research, Major Tim Saunders MBE- (an expert military historian and a serving officer in the Devon and Dorset Regiment) , has succeeded in writing a brilliant book, that chronicles the major actions in which these two famous regiments fought during the long Summer and Autumn of 1916. Often using the actual words of the men who were there, Tim Saunders has searched archives, regimental diaries and private document and has backed up his excellent narrative with many superb maps and diagrams and a large number of unique photographs which were taken at the time.

Family history researchers, local historians along with anyone interested in the Great War, Military History and the Devonshire or Dorset Regiments in particular will find this superb book fascinating.An excellent buy !


Bomber Aircrew of World War II: True Stories of Frontline Air Combat
Bomber Aircrew of World War II: True Stories of Frontline Air Combat
by Bruce Barrymore Halpenny
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight into Bomber Command, 11 Jan. 2007
Anyone with the slightest interest in the R.A.F. during the Second World War will want to read this excellent volume. Well written by a former R.A.F. wartime pilot, it

provides the reader with a fascinating insight into a very special breed of men - the courageous aircrew of Bomber Command. Flying a remarkable 300,000 operations over enemy territory during the war sadly resulted in fifty thousand of this brave and dedicated force being killed, when eight thousand aircraft were lost in action.

The superb collection of first hand accounts provided by veteran R.A.F. aircrew and support staff, together with a full account of all of Bomber Command's Victoria Cross awards and a section detailing the development of the bomber airfield, make this excellent value for money book, compelling reading. However, the "icing on the cake" for me was the inclusion of a large number of superb and previously unpublished archive photographs.


Billie: The Nevill Letters: 1914-1916: Billie: The Nevill Letters: 1914-1916: The Neville Letters: 1914-1916
Billie: The Nevill Letters: 1914-1916: Billie: The Nevill Letters: 1914-1916: The Neville Letters: 1914-1916
by Ruth Elwin Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He kicked a football into no-mans land!, 11 Jan. 2007
The events of the 1st July 1916 (the first day of the Battle of the Somme) are legendary in British military history, as over 19,000 of our troops were killed on that day alone.

Sadly, Captain Wilfred (Billie) Neville of the 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment became one of those fatalities, when he was killed within the first few minutes of the British advance at Montauban. His name has become legendary too, as he was the young British army officer who, having likened the forthcoming attack on the German positions, to a game of football, where his regiment was to play the Bavarians, had issued his men with footballs. - the aim being to boost his men's morale by encouraging them to kick these balls across No Man's Land, into the enemy positions.

This superb book is based on over 200 letters Billie wrote home to his family during his time in the army. Covering the period from his enlistment through to the day of his untimely death, these fascinating letters provide the reader with a most remarkable insight into this brave officer's innermost thoughts as he prepared to face the enemy and the very real and demanding conditions, he along with his men endured during their time in the trenches.

Billie is the true story of a soldier with a sporting spirit, who in line with typical British tradition, certainly "played the game" through to the very end. Therefore, I am sure, this enlightening volume, which contains many excellent photographs will appeal to researchers, battlefield enthusiasts and military historians alike.It is exceptionally good value for money.


Singapore Diary: The Hidden Journal of Captain R M Horner: The Diary of Captain R M Horner
Singapore Diary: The Hidden Journal of Captain R M Horner: The Diary of Captain R M Horner
by R M Horner
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book, 10 Jan. 2007
This fascinating volume is based on the hidden journal of Captain RM Horner-a British Army officer who was captured at the fall of Singapore and who subsequently became a Prisoner of War of the Japanese.

The very fact that the author managed to write and then hide this record of his time in captivity is remarkable, however what makes this volume both special and different to many similar volumes is the inclusion of a large number of excellent sketches and drawings plus colourful plates depicting some of the characters and life in the notorious camps. The reproductions of original documents, the home made menus, Christmas cards and amateur theatre production programmes from the period are outstanding considering the circumstances and lack of resources.

What is evident from this volume, is the way the men rallied round and got on with life despite the extreme hardships and deprivations they were experiencing- at times you would find it hard to believe the events were taking place in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp, however it was these moral boosting events that gave the men some sanity and reason for living.

This is without a doubt, a very valuable addition to any WW2 library. I have read many volumes on life behind the wires of POW camps - this one is certainly different from the rest and therefore very special.


On the Road to Mandalay
On the Road to Mandalay
by Randle Manwaring
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars RAF REGIMENT INTEREST, 10 Jan. 2007
This is the interesting autobiography of a man who claims his long life has been affected by the most unusual combination of war, poetry, religion, cricket and insurance!

Randal Manwaring, the son of a famous naval historian was born in 1912. Although he was a child in the Great War, he quickly volunteered for service in the Royal Air Force in World War 2 and became a founder member of the RAF Regiment. He was instrumental in setting up and training the men of the elite force and soon saw active service in Burma, where attained the rank of Wing Commander and was present at the surrender of the Japanese generals in Rangoon.

He survived the war despite heavy losses sustained by the regiment and went on to carve himself a successful career in the insurance industry. He is an avid lover of cricket and a most accomplished poet. Many of his works are actually included in this volume, illustrating in words his innermost thoughts and strong beliefs.

This volume will be of interest to those keen to learn more about the formative years of the "Regiment" and its subsequent service in Burma.


The Life and Campaigns of General Hughie Stockwell: From Norway, Through Burma, to Suez
The Life and Campaigns of General Hughie Stockwell: From Norway, Through Burma, to Suez
by Jonathan Riley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Major to Major General in four years!, 23 Dec. 2006
This is the excellent and highly detailed biography of a most remarkable soldier, who having commanded a West African division, was once referred to by Monty, as a "bow and arrow soldier".

Hugh Charles Stockwell was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1923 and in spite the fact he was not a staff college graduate, he enjoyed a distinguished military career which included him rising from the rank of Major to Major General in just four years! He was a man of great courage with excellent leadership and personal qualities, which led to him being held in great esteem by his superiors and peers together with those who served under him.

A protégé of Monty, Stockwell held a number of senior appointments - which included commanding the Anglo-French land forces during the Suez crisis and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe in 1960-64. Knighted for his part in operations in Palestine, he was also awarded a DSO, CB, CBE and three Mentions In Despatches.

The author - a serving Major General himself, has successfully provided the reader with a fascinating insight into the career of this very talented man. I am sure readers will be as engrossed as I was for hours, as they read this very fitting and long overdue tribute to an exceptional man.


The Rebel Heart
The Rebel Heart
by Martin Stephen
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Read, 22 Dec. 2006
This review is from: The Rebel Heart (Hardcover)
This excellent and very readable volume is the latest addition to the popular Henry Gresham series of books.It is an historical thriller at its best! With tales of intrigue, political corruption and royal scandals(yes, it was happening then too!), it provides the reader with a gripping and most entertaining read.

The story is set in 1598 at a time when controversy surrounds who will succeed Elizabeth 1 on the throne of England. Will it be James 1 of Scotland or the Earl of Wessex - of course we now know the answer, however one of the few to have had an inclination then, was Gresham - a gentleman spy who risked death as he became entangled in the battle for power as he travelled throughout the British Isles on a secret and dangerous mission.

If you are like me and enjoy the Bernard Cornwall titles, you will certainly enjoy this publication and the other titles in the series too.


Red Partisan: The Memoirs of a Soviet Resistance Fighter on the Eastern Front
Red Partisan: The Memoirs of a Soviet Resistance Fighter on the Eastern Front
by Nikolai I. Obryn'ba
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The human element of the war on the Eastern Front, 22 Dec. 2006
The author of this excellent book was a very ordinary individual who was just setting out on his career when the Germans invaded Russia in 1941. As a result, he immediately volunteered for service in the Red Army, however when the enemy advanced, it was not long before he was taken prisoner.

In this volume , he tells of the brutality of the invader and recalls horrors and atrocious conditions in their prison camps and his subsequent struggle for survival as he escaped and later fought with the partisans behind the German lines in Belorussia.

Of course, many volumes have already been written about the campaign on the Eastern Front and both the German and Russian armies, however this is an uncompromising account of the human side of the conflict and life in the Red Army and as the readable text is supported with some excellent black and white photographs, it is therefore a valuable contribution to any library.


History Of The Lincolnshire Regiment 1914-1918: History Of The Lincolnshire Regiment 1914-1918
History Of The Lincolnshire Regiment 1914-1918: History Of The Lincolnshire Regiment 1914-1918
by Maj. C. R. Simpson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for researchers interested in this regiment!, 12 Dec. 2006
This excellent value for money, easy to read and long out of print volume covers the history of ten battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment whilst they were on active service in the Great War and therefore military historians, local and family history researchers together with medal collectors and many general readers will find it an informative read and a must for their bookshelves.

The Lincolnshire Regiment had just two regular and two territorial battalions when war broke out, however it rapidly grew in size and by the end of hostilities, had raised no less than a further 14 battalions. Ten of these (the subject of this book) served on the Western Front and one also saw action at Gallipoli. It was awarded no less than three Victoria Crosses and a total of 58 Battle Honours !

The author who arranged the history in the chronological order of events as they happened, compiled this volume from a mixture of official information which included the official war diaries together with notes and extracts from personal diaries and letters from the various regimental officers who served throughout the war and read the original draft too, therefore making it exceptionally accurate.

The excellent narrative supported by no less than 24 black and white photographs and over 40 maps and plans, provides the reader with detailed descriptions of battles and actions and often mentions specific personalities involved in these events and the casualties subsequently incurred. In fact, no less than 8,800 men were killed on active service and in this connection, the extensive Roll of Honour (also included) listing officers in alphabetical order and other ranks by battalion, will be invaluable to the researcher.

Naval and Military Press have once again provided the military historian and researcher with a useful and very reasonably priced volume that would not only have been difficult to obtain, but would have been a lot more expensive too.


Winewoman@Bergerac.France
Winewoman@Bergerac.France
by Helen Gillespie-Peck
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two books in one-a biography and wine refence guide, 10 Dec. 2006
This title encompasses both a biography and reference book in one volume. It tells the interesting story a lady who having moved to France to renovate a ruined farmhouse in the countryside, out of necessity went on to start her own business in wine.

Many readers who have set out on similar ventures, seeking the rural idyll overseas will understand the trials and tribulations she went through and for those considering a similar move in the future, it may well make them think twice! Anyway, out of the ashes rose the phoenix and she eventually succeeded, making a success of her business and living there too.

Now, with over 30 years experience in the wine industry, she is a member of the Association of Wine Educators and Circle of Wine Writers and is therefore able to share her expert knowledge with the reader, so they too may appreciate the background information on the wine so many of them often enjoy.

A plus point of this book the wealth of information provided and with chapters covering - buying your own vineyard, whiskey, storing your wine, a glossary of wine terms and a comprehensive guide to the wine growing areas of France, you cant go far wrong buying it.

All in all a very useful book for the wine lover. For those not yet used to the complexities of wine, I am sure it will answer many of the questions you were afraid to ask.


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