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Les Pringle (UK)

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No Empty Chairs: The Short and Heroic Lives of the Young Aviators Who Fought and Died in the First World War
No Empty Chairs: The Short and Heroic Lives of the Young Aviators Who Fought and Died in the First World War
by Ian Mackersey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars well informed and written, 10 Feb. 2015
My interest in the RFC dates back to when I was a schoolboy and over the years have read plenty of 1st and 2nd hand accounts of the war over the trenches. I rate this book highly on the list. It is well researched and, considering the host of historical material available, well edited with the right balance of personal anecdotes and military facts being achieved. The one regret I have is that the French contribution to the struggle is barely mentioned. (Surely a little space could have been found to balance things a little better.) I was particularly pleased to see that Duncan Grinnell-Milne was included as I corresponded with him in the mid-sixties after his book, Wind in the Wires came out in paperback…he was a charming man who sent me three letters in answer to various questions I had. He even sent me a ‘Profile’ publication on the SE5a in which he scribbled a few comments. But back to this book in question…I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone as a ‘way into the subject’.


D-Day to Victory: The Diaries of a British Tank Commander
D-Day to Victory: The Diaries of a British Tank Commander
by Sgt Trevor Greenwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 4 April 2014
I found this book to be an engrossing read. It falls into that category of books which ‘flesh out’ history in a way that can only be done by those who were there. The fact that it’s a diary makes it all the more immediate. Greenwood’s musings take us from intense battle scenes to every-day observations of the liberated people of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. I particularly enjoyed the latter as books concerning war seldom speak of the civilian cost other than in terms of statistics. All in all, this book is a valuable contribution to the collective memory written by an ordinary soldier experiencing terrible times in Europe.


First Light
First Light
by Geoffrey Wellum
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top notch, 21 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
What a wonderful book! As an avid reader of auto-biographies and biographies concerning flying there is no doubt in my mind that First Light is up there with the very best. I feel that I have just flown a Spitfire from my armchair. So much has already been said in praise of the book that I won't bother to reiterate it, just to say, if you read this Mr. Wellum...a big thank you from me.


No Moon Tonight (Witness to War)
No Moon Tonight (Witness to War)
by Don Charlwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 12 Jun. 2011
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A true and moving account of a tour of operations with Bomber Command. It's written in the literary style of someone skilled in the craft of communicating on a deeper level to your usual first-hand account. In saying that, there's not a hint of pretentiousness about it. What it paints is an honest and compelling picture of life in Bomber Command from the viewpoint of a sergeant-navigator. The author never flinches from laying bear his own short-comings and his frequent episodes of crisis of conscious. He vividly describes raids over Germany and finds time to examine the relationships between crew-mates and the sorrow of the passing of friends.
All in all, it's a book I'm very pleased to have discovered, although a little late.. (Written in 1956)


I Sank The Bismarck
I Sank The Bismarck
by John Moffat
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars splendid, 20 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: I Sank The Bismarck (Paperback)
Let's get the title out of the way first; it's patently ludicrous. No individual, living or dead can make such a claim. After reading the book I'd be very surprised if it was the author who came up with it. It's only a guess, but I fancy that a lot of people will assume that a stupid title means that it's a stupid book. And that's a shame because nothing could be further from the truth; it's a very good book.
With that gripe out of the way let me say what a splendid read it is. It's packed with anecdotal and personal experiences of the naval war in the Mediterranean culminating (as the title suggests) in the north Atlantic with the Swordfish attacks on the Bismarck. But there is plenty to ponder on before we reach the Bismarck. It's packed with all the little details that won't be found in an historians account. Did you know that the Scharnhorst & Gneisenau were referred to as the Ugly Sisters by the Ark Royal's crew as they attempted to hunt them down? I just love things like that. Only first-hand accounts can flesh out history for subsequent generations and we should be grateful to those who have taken the trouble to record it. Anyone with an interest in military first-hand accounts will not find anything to complain about with this book.
Oh dear...before submitting this to the ether I took a look at the other reviews and could scarcely believe what I read. Some one has written...`could have been an excellent book with a little less self praise.' It's an incomprehensible comment as the author is self effacing in the extreme.
Here's to you Mr Moffat...we all owe you one!


Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire
Sigh for a Merlin: Testing the Spitfire
by Alex Henshaw
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Man, 12 Jan. 2010
A wonderful book and a must for anyone with an interest in aviation, past or present. There is no doubt that Alex Henshaw was in love with flying and in that relationship the Spitfire was his mistress.
Apart all the technical information abut the `great plane you would expect and hope for, the book takes you on a fascinating exploration of just what it means to be a test pilot in wartime. Although unencumbered by false modesty, Henshaw still manages to relate his experiences in a clipped and oh so English way. In short; a great book written by a great man.
(Oh, by way of a bonus at the end, we are treated to a vivid description of the great storm of 1953.)


A Year In The Merde
A Year In The Merde
by Stephen Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars things don't get much worse, 30 Aug. 2009
This review is from: A Year In The Merde (Paperback)
This has to be the worst book I have ever tried to read. It does not have a single saving grace. I got about forty pages in, the last twenty only because I wanted to see just how bad it could get. I shouldn't have done that because it got a lot worse.
I was going to give it to a charity shop but had second thoughts and put it in the dustbin instead. Some may see this as a harsh review, it's not, I have pulled a few punches in the interest of balance.


More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea
More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea
by Tom Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This will do, 4 Jun. 2009
This is a book that works on every level. Laconic, cutting, humorous and compassionate; it welcomes the uninitiated into the world of the modern day ambulance service in a very accessible and unpretentious manner. Simply put...if you want to understand the pressures placed on the shoulders of people manning the ambulances we all rely on at one time or another, you need go no further.


PURE EVOKE-3, Portable Stereo DAB/FM Radio with EPG and Recording
PURE EVOKE-3, Portable Stereo DAB/FM Radio with EPG and Recording

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Radio, 27 May 2009
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What a great radio. Very good sound quality...compact...easy to use...one touch recording. I particularly enjoy the record facility and being able to pause and then playback. (Very much like the Sky box.)
Downside.
Design errors...the power cable protrudes from the back of the radio rather than the side. This means you have to allow for an inch and a half at the back and can't sit it flush to a wall.
The power plug connection is designed upside down, which means it sits a couple of inches above the wall socket. My socket is just below the shelf I wanted to put the radio on, so I had to cut a hole in the shelf.
Instruction booklet could have been better. It never ceases to amaze me that companies spend a fortune on research and development then get the car park attendant to write the instructions.


Morning's At Seven (Pentecost)
Morning's At Seven (Pentecost)
by Eric Malpass
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 26 Mar. 2009
If anyone wants a lesson on how to write simply and beautifully then read this book.
The idea of an everyday tale of an extended family rubbing along together might not set the pulse racing...but race it does as you delve deeper into the characters and how each one perceives themselves and each other.
I can't recommend it highly enough.


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