Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

2006
Section 4

Book Review By Michael D Booker (March 2006)

WITH THE 10th ESSEX IN FRANCE

Authors: Lt Col T.M. Banks and Capt R.A. Chell

Publisher:Naval & Military Press
Unit 10, Ridgewood Industrial Park
Uckfield
East Sussex
TN22 5QE
United Kingdom

www.naval–military-press.com

ISBN: 1845741544

N&P Reprint of 2nd Edition, Originally Published In 1924

UK Price: £18.00

This most interesting volume is in fact a Naval and Military Press re-print of the 1924 edition of the full service record of the 10th Essex Regiment (a Service Battalion of Kitchener’s Second New Army) during the Great War.

Formed at Warley (a suburb of Brentwood) in September 1914, a total of 227 officers and 5,274 other ranks served in this battalion between its formation and the end of hostilities – a period in which 1103 men were either were killed in action, or died on active service.

Allocated to the 53rd Brigade of the 18th (Eastern) Division (a division noted as being one of the best in the British Expeditionary Force), the unit did not actually arrive in France until the end of July 1915, however it remained on the Western Front throughout the war and during this lengthy period of time, took part in no less than twenty five actions – which included the first day of the Battle of the Somme, where it was one of the few formations to actually achieve its objectives.

Written in an informal yet interesting manner, this is generally a good history that includes plenty of detail together with black and white photographs and drawings. A chronological list of all the engagements in which the battalion fought is also featured at the end of the publication.

On a slightly negative note (that should not put you off), there is no index, Roll of Honour or list of awards included, however I am still sure this publication will be of tremendous use to a wide range of readers including both local and military historians and family history researchers alike.

Book Review By Michael D Booker (March 2006)

TRACING YOUR SECOND WORLD WAR ANCESTORS

Author: Simon Fowler

Publisher: Countryside Books
Highfield House
2 Highfield Avenue
Newbury
Berkshire RG14 5DS

ISBN: 1-85306 936 1

First Published in 2006

UK Price: £9.99

This splendid, compact volume is packed full of information and is an excellent tool for anyone interested in the fascinating hobby of genealogy. Written by an expert with over twenty years experience in this particular area of research, it provides a wealth of information that will be invaluable for both the beginner and more experienced researcher alike and for anyone who is keen to learn more about their ancestors who served their country in one form or another during the Second World War. As even the youngest of the veterans of this bloody conflict who are still alive today, approach their 80's, it re-enforces the fact that researchers now need to gather as much information as they can regarding their ancestors unique experiences during this period.

There are many people who may say that certain archive information may not yet be available in the public domain for another decade or more. There is of course some truth in this, however this excellent title provides valuable information for veterans and their next of kin, as to where they can write and obtain copies of service records and medal entitlements etc.

As one would expect, there is a great deal of interest in those members of our families who served in the armed forces, however we should not forget the thousands of men and women who served in the civilian services such as the Police, Ambulance and Fire Brigades, the Merchant Navy, Home Guard and Women's Land Army – all of whom, played an important role and supported the war effort in one form or another and therefore the records of their service is as interesting too and once again invaluable to our overall research.

As well as explaining the finer details of individual service records, the author has also provided information on the records also available that cover various individual unit actions, casualties and prisoners of war. There is also a very useful chapter on tracing records of members of the allied forces too, as well as those of Germany, Italy and Japan and on persons who also perished or went missing during the Holocaust. There are many interesting photographs and the useful list abbreviations and codenames, contact addresses and websites will prove to be very handy too.

Book Review By Michael D Booker (March 2006)

RODNEY AND THE BREAKING OF THE LINE

Author: Peter Trew

Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Pen & Sword Books Limited
47 Church Street
Barnsley
South Yorkshire S70 2AS

ISBN: 1-84415 1433

First Published in 2006

UK Price: £19.99

This volume is sure to appeal to naval historians and maritime enthusiasts alike, as it tells the fascinating story of the life and career of one of Britain's greatest admirals – George Brydges Rodney. This formidable naval officer and Member of Parliament had much ability, achieved great successes and was heralded a hero, however his vain, selfish and unscrupulous manner also resulted in him being unpopular in certain circles too!

Harrow educated Rodney joined the Royal Navy in 1732 and served in a number of vessels before obtaining his first command - the battleship Eagle. Under the fleet commanded by Admiral Hawke, he gained his first laurels for gallantry in October 1747when Eagle took part in the victory against the French off Ushant Island. His subsequent posts included Governor and Commander-in- Chief of Newfoundland, Governor of Greenwich Hospital and Commander-in-Chief of Jamaica. He was elected M.P. for Saltash in 1751 and M.P. for Penryn in 1761, before being appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Leeward Islands in late 1779.

Rodney is however perhaps better known for his victory against the French Fleet of the Compte de Grasse at the Battle of the Saintes - fought off the coast of Dominica in April 1782. With thirty five ships under his command, he employed the novel tactic of "breaking the line"- a brilliant manoeuvre which involved his taking the advantage when a shift in the wind broke the French line of battle. The British fleet actually broke through the French line of thirty three much superior ships twice, splitting the enemy fleet into four segments and after eleven hours of bitter fighting in which 6,000 men perished, the British emerged as victors, thus saving Jamaica and damaging the prestige of the French on the high seas.

Rodney once again returned home the hero. Statues were erected in his honour and he was created a Baronet. He received a substantial pension from Parliament and lived a quiet life in the country until his death in London at the age of 73 in May 1792.

Book Review By Michael D Booker (March 2006)

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE REGIMENT 1914-1918

Publisher: Naval & Military Press
Unit 10, Ridgewood Industrial Park
Uckfield
East Sussex
TN22 5QE
United Kingdom

www.naval–military-press.com

ISBN: 1845742702

Originally Published In 1932

UK Price: £25.00

Military historians and genealogists alike cannot fail to appreciate the excellent series of publications from Naval and Military Press featuring long out of print Regimental histories.

This particular volume, originally published in 1932 covers the actions of the Northamptonshire Regiment during the Great War, a period when it gained no less than fifty eight battle honours and a remarkable six Victoria Crosses.

The main content of this splendid volume covers the two regular battalions of the Regiment. The 1st & 2nd Battalions. The 1st Battalion which was among the first units to travel overseas in August 1914, saw action at Mons, the Marne, the Aisne and during the First Battle of Ypres. The 2nd Battalion, which was in Egypt when broke out, arrived back home briefly, before it also travelled to France, arriving there in November 1914. The Territorial and Service Battalions however are not forgotten and the 4th (TF) Battalion which fought at Gallipoli and in Palestine has a full chapter dedicated to it. The 5th,6th and 7th (Service) Battalions also served in France and Flanders and are covered too, albeit in the space of several pages.

As one would expect, a volume of this type contains plenty of descriptive detail surrounding the preparatory training as well as the actual fighting in which the Regiment was involved. I am therefore sure it will prove invaluable to the researcher, especially those seeking information surrounding individual acts of gallantry and or officer casualties. There is a good index, together with a very useful appendix containing all the battle honours gained and a full list of honours and awards too.

All in all, an impressive Great War history for a Regiment which can trace its ancestry back to 1741!

Book Review By Michael D Booker (March 2006)

EDGEHILL

 

Authors: Christopher L Scott, Alan Turton & Dr Eric Gruber von Arni

Publisher: Pen and Sword
47 Church Street
Barnsley
South Yorkshire S70 2AS

ISBN: 1 844152545

Published in 2006

UK Price: £16.99

English Civil War enthusiasts, Military Historians and Local History Researchers alike, will be highly delighted with this paper edition of the superb volume covering a most fascinating period of our nation's history. Written by three very talented historians and experts in this conflict, it is sure to be a popular edition to many bookshelves.

The Battle of Edgehill or as some say - Edge Hill, was fought on the 23rd October 1642 near Kineton in Warwickshire, has gone down in history as the first pitched battle of the English Civil War. Many books have of course been written on this particular battle as well as the English Civil War in general, however the authors on this occasion have approached the subject a different and innovative style, therefore giving the reader a better understanding of both the battle and the battlefield itself.

It is excellent value for money and a most interesting read and will prove invaluable if touring this area of the country or researching the battle and your ancestors who may have been involved in it.

Book Review By Michael D Booker (April 2006)

RAZOR’S EDGE
The Unofficial History of the Falklands War

Author: Hugh Bicheno

Publisher: Wiedenfield & Nicholson

www.orionbooks.co.uk

ISBN: 0297846337

First Published in March 2006

UK Price: £18.99

Many will find it is hard to believe, that it was twenty four years ago this month, that Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands! As the years have passed, some will have forgotten this “short 74 day war”, others however, who were there at the time, or those who lost relatives and friends will never forget it.

Razor’s Edge- is the controversial “Unofficial History” of the Falklands War, which has been written by a most talented author, who according to Max Hastings, “does not mince his words”. Having had a successful academic career, he worked as an intelligence officer and freelance ransom negotiator before settling down to write about men at war. As a former mercenary too, Bicheno understands how battles are fought and having been a senior British Spy in Argentina for five years before the war started, he is also ideally qualified to comment on what really went on behind the scenes at the time and write this particular volume.

This memoir makes fascinating reading and I am sure that it will prove invaluable to students of modern military history, as it explains in detail, how he along with his “under cover” colleagues gathered hard and corroborated intelligence relating to the Argentine government’s intentions towards the Falkland Islands. Many readers will be amazed to learn that much of this information was totally ignored and this may well have led to the war itself.

All in all, a very interesting book that will no doubt cause some “feathers to ruffle!”

Book Review By Michael D Booker (April 2006)

GRANNY’S DIARIES

Author: Grace Palin - Compiled By Ellen Bostock

Publisher: Melrose Books
St Thomas Place
Ely
Cambridgeshire,
CB7 4GG

www.melrosebooks.com

ISBN: 1905226411

First Published in March 2006

UK Price: £13.99

As my Mother had served in the ATS during the Second World War, I was interested to read this particular volume, which details the life and wartime experiences of Grace Palin – a young lady, who along with many other females of her own age at that time, found herself in military uniform for the duration of the war.

When war broke out, many of these young women, who up until then, had never ventured far from their families, suddenly found themselves miles away from home in other parts of the country or overseas, doing jobs they never before thought imaginable. Their dedication to duty and the part they played in the overall war effort is now legendary.

This beautifully written diary is sure to prove invaluable therefore for anyone who like myself, would like to learn more of their female ancestors service in those dark war years, when they were often subjected to the hardships of constant bombing, rationing and all too frequently, the news of the loss of loved ones.

An excellent read, this volume is without a doubt a fitting and lasting tribute to this brave lady and so many like her.

Last updated 17 February, 2009

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