Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

2007
Section 1

Book Review By
Michael D Booker (January 2007)

Publisher: Spellmount Publishing

Website : www.spellmount.com

ISBN 9781862273399

Published: August 2006

UK Price : £20.00

SINGAPORE DIARY

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.

Book Review By
Michael D Booker (January 2007)

Author: Maurice de Tascher

Translated By: Rosemary Brindle

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

Website :
www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

ISBN: 1 84415 457 2

Published: 14th December 2006

UK Price: 19.99

CAMPAIGNING FOR NAPOLEON

Anyone with an interest in the Napoleonic period is sure to be interested in this most fascinating volume –a rare first hand and vivid account of life as a cavalry officer in the Grande Armee during the period 1806-1813.

Inspired by the Emperor’s earlier triumphs this spirited young man was eager to seek glory too and fought with much enthusiasm against the Prussians in 1806, the Spanish and British in 1809 and both the Austrians and Russians in 1812, however when he died in 1813,he was a very different and disillusioned man altogether.

Although Rosemary Brindle translated Maurice de Tascher’s diaries, she has not amended them in any other way and they remain the same as the day they were originally written, therefore providing the reader with a wealth of graphical information on the important events as they happened.

The volume has a most beautiful cover and includes many black and white photos of personalities of the period. There is a useful appendix with detailed notes on Napoleons Russian Campaign of 1812 and the de Tascher family.

Certainly a valuable addition to the military historian’s and enthusiasts library.

Book Review By
Michael D Booker (January 2007)

Author: Edward Paice

Publisher: Wiedenfield and Nicholson

Website : www.orionbooks.co.uk

ISBN: 9780297847090

UK Price: 25.00

TIP AND RUN

This ground breaking volume is certainly a breath of fresh air and I am therefore certain it will be welcomed by Great War researchers and enthusiasts alike, as it differs from other volumes by covering the war in Africa (as opposed to the war on the Western Front or Gallipolli).

Following the success of his earlier and much acclaimed volume “Lost Lion of the Empire”, this well written volume covers what many in Britain considered to have been a “remote sideshow” compared to the big push and the events in Europe at that crucial period in our history, however there is no doubt that Africa was of special interest to many nations and it was therefore important to remove the threat from the German fleet based there.

The author has obviously carried out a great deal of research to produce this superb publication. His excellent narrative is supported by a wealth of excellent black and white photographs and maps and a highly detailed bibliography and notes section. The researcher will be especially delighted with the biography of key persons involved in the campaign and the splendid Orders of Battle covering British, German and Indian armies in Africa between 19 14 and 1917.

Edward Paice is as an author to watch and this title is a must for the bookshelves!

Book Review By
Michael D Booker (January 2007)

Author: Frank Richards DCM MM

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

Website :
www.naval-military-press.com

ISBN: 1843425580

UK Price: 8.00

OLD SOLDIER SAHIB

If you want to know what life was like for the ordinary soldier in the early years of the 20th century, this is one volume you should purchase today! I personally found it fascinating and a delight to read and as a result, have now moved swiftly on to the sequel “Old Soldiers Never Die”.

Frank Richards was born in 1884.He enlisted in the Royal Welch Fusiliers at Brecon in April 1901- just three months after the death of Queen Victoria. Having trained for a short time in the UK, he went on to serve with that particular Regiment in both India and Burma for the remainder of his 9 year engagement.

This really is a marvellous book. It packed to the hilt with tales of nostalgia that will provide both the military historian and researcher as well as the casual reader with hours of enjoyable reading.

Taking you back to the days of the Empire before the outbreak of the Great War, the author eloquently describes life his time as a “squaddie” in Kipling’s India, and his unusual experiences during the famous Delhi Durbar. Believe it or not, despite the heat and disease, it didn’t sound that bad –but judge for yourself!

It is a very reasonably priced volume- I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Book Review By
Michael D Booker (January 2007)

Author and Publisher: Michael Harrison

Email : mhjhknowle@aol.com

Published: 2006

Worldwide Price (Inc Postage):
UK Pounds 12.50

THE FURTHER PRICE A PARISH PAID

This excellent self published and very readable volume by Michael Harrison will predominantly be of interest to those living in the Knowle and Dorrige or the nearby areas of Warwickshire and especially those researching the war service of their ancestors, however despite the fact I had no connections with this part of the country, I found the volume excellent reading and I feel sure it will be inspirational to those considering setting out on similar ventures based on their own home towns or areas of the country.

Here is proof that the uncountable hours many of us spend researching local war memorials, wargraves and archives can pay off and although I don’t believe the author’s aim was to make a profit from this volume, he will no doubt benefit in many other ways, including the gratefulness of many people for saving them hours of painstaking research too.

If every village or town in the country were to take a leaf out of the author’s book and produce similar volumes, I am sure we would have a wonderful record to pass on to future generations.

Book Review By
Michael D Booker (January 2007)

Author: Frank Richards DCM MM

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

Website :
www.naval-military-press.com

ISBN: 1843420260

First Published 1933
Re-Published By Naval and Military Press 2003

UK Price: 9.95

OLD SOLDIERS NEVER DIE

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!

Last updated 17 February, 2009

Friends of the War Memorials
War Memorials Trust
Book Review Index
Commonweath War Graves Commission
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Copyright © Roll-of-Honour.com 2002-
Email: rollofhonour@ntlworld.com

See our on-line bookstore
Visit our bookstore