Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

Section 1

Author: Richard T Bass

Publisher: Tommies Guides

Published: March 2008
Type: Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 9555698 2 1
Price: £11.95


Although much has already been written or spoken of in respect of the legendary Exercise Tiger, to many the subject is either a complete mystery or is still surrounded by intrigue due to the vast amount of hearsay or unsubstantiated evidence and mis-information! One thing for certain is that this certainly is a story that must be told and in this respect, I personally believe the author - Richard Bass has been highly successful in producing an excellent volume that exposes as close to the truth as possible of events and actions behind the World War Two US training exercise in April 1944, where German E-Boats attacked an unarmed convoy of troopships who were preparing for D-Day off Slapton Sands in the southwest of England.

There were many casualties and an official loss of 749 lives was reported. For decades since this sad event, despite the wide spread de-classification of WW2 documents, little if any new information has come to light, which has therefore resulted in many of the survivors, the families of the men involved, military historians together with the locals in the sleepy South West of England, talking of cover ups and sinister activity which includes tales of friendly fire, mass burials, missing bodies and empty graves!

Now, thanks to the author’s dedication and years of extensive and original research, he has been able to shed a whole new light on the sad events of sixty years ago. Drawing on a wide range of eye witness accounts together with previously unpublished information or information no longer in the public domain, he is now more certain than ever that a cover up did actually take place and the casualties were in fact far greater than the officially published figures.

This is a true story and one that I am sure readers will find highly fascinating. The volume is packed to the hilt with a wealth of information, facts and figures and as well as many black and white photographs, it also features a detailed appendices with copies of extracts from war diaries and classified signals, making it even more valuable for those seeking in depth information. The publication represents excellent value for money and I believe it is a valuable addition to the bookshelves of WW2 enthusiasts and those living in the South West of England today.

Author: Jack Sheldon

Publisher: Pen and Sword

Type: Paperback
ISBN: 9781844156801
Price: £25.00

The German Army on Vimy Ridge 1914-1917

This excellent volume commences with the capture of Vimy Ridge and Notre Dame de Lorette in October 1914 and concludes in 1917. In writing it, Jack Sheldon has once again triumphed in producing yet another outstanding and fascinating volume which I am certain will be sought after and will be sure to grace many military historian’s and enthusiast’s bookshelves in the years to come, as it is the type of publication that can be read over and over again! Those who have read this author’s previous volumes will of course already be familiar with the quality of Jack’s work and like me, praise his excellent style and ability to write both flowing and accurate narrative on what many consider to be fairly complex subjects! He has certainly gone to great lengths in his research to complete this splendid title and should be commended on that point alone, as his sources of information must have been numerous, widespread and often fragmented at times.

I am led to believe that the majority of the information contained in this publication may have been previously unpublished and therefore of immense interest to a widespread audience of readers. In my view, it will certainly challenge many previously held ideas and theories and therefore, may well prove controversial at times, however, having said that, in my opinion, that makes excellent and refreshing reading!

For anyone interested in the tunneling during the Great War, they will find this one aspect of the book alone, compelling reading. However I was personally engrossed with the tremendous amount of detail covering the fighting for Vimy Ridge and this along with German accounts covering interrogations of British and Canadian Prisoners of War made absorbing reading too!

There are some very useful and highly detailed maps and in traditional Pen and Sword style many excellent photographs support the highly readable narrative. And therefore in summary, I feel this publication will be indispensable to anyone interested in the Great War in general and the battles of the Western Front and Vimy in particular. I found it a joy to read and therefore, I cannot praise it too highly – it is a valuable addition to my library and I commend it to you too.

(review by Chris Baker - "The Long, Long Trail man")

Author: Stephen Manning

Publisher: Pen and Sword

Type: Hardback
ISBN-10: 1844156540
ISBN-13: 978-1844156542
Price £25.00


It is quite extraordinary that no serious study of Evelyn Wood has been made since his own autobiography published over a century ago. As one of the senior military figures of the Victorian age, his story is one of great adventure and derring-do, tremendous personal courage, military and personal controversy. This, all wrapped up in an odd personality, makes for a splendid story and, in the hands of Stephen Manning, a darned good read.

For students of the Great War, it is the latter part of Wood's career that will be of most interest. He was a great trainer of men, and both before and after the war in South Africa (1899-1902) was deeply involved in the reform of the British Army's approach to training and logistics. The performance of the "Old Contemptibles" at Mons and on the retreat has distinct roots in Wood's work. Wood's sponsorship of Douglas Haig, his potential spotted as a young cavalry officer, is also clearly of significance.

But for sheer human interest, it is Wood's involvement in the Indian Mutiny, Zulu and Boer wars that grips the reader. Wounded and near to death on numerous occasions, he always pulls through and in so doing, hauls himself up the military ladder despite the undoubted constraint of not been well to do and with personal and family complexities with which to contend. Calamity at Majuba Hill and at Hlobane, enough to consign an ordinary man to the darker pages of history, were almost shrugged off by Wood. He appears to have been something of a politician (with a small p) as well as a fine if rather unpredictable soldier.

The author has delved deeply into archival sources to bring alive the story of the man. Overall, well worth reading and a fine addition to your military library.

Author: Wim Degrande and Patrick Goosens

Published in 2007 by Davidsfonds- Leuven
Available From: Tommies Guides

Type: Paperback
ISBN: 978 90 5826 484 8
Price: £25.95

Relics of the Great War

Anyone with an interest in the Great War and especially those with an artistic bent, who appreciate beautiful photography will, I believe really enjoy this beautiful volume which features an excellent selection of outstanding , evocative black-and-white photographs of the often forgotten or neglected remains of monuments, cemeteries and buildings from the Great War.

The photography can without a doubt be described as nothing less than splendid and I am sure many would buy the book for the photographs alone, irrespective of an interest in military history, however as the authors have coupled present day images with the truly excellent wartime archive photographs and full supporting text in both Dutch and English too, you have a very useful reference work that will not only provide fascinating browsing / reading, but also invaluable to a wide range of readers from the casual reader to Great War enthusiasts and experts who may well want to use the volume when planning touring the battlefields.

As the volume is published in the Netherlands, it may not be featured in many book shops but is thankfully available in the UK from Tommies Guides. I thought the volume was excellent value for money and a valuable addition to my personal library.

Author: John Stephen Morse

Publisher: Tommies Guides

Published: 2007
Type: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0955569814
Price: £19.95

9th Service Battalion the Sherwood Foresters: The Nott's and Derby Regiment During the First World War

The 9th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby) which formed part of Lord Kitchener's "New Army", was initially made up of men recruited from the north Midlands. These very ordinary men, the majority of which, had previously been employed as farm workers or miners from the local coalfields had never left their rural areas before enlistment, soon found themselves facing a vicious enemy on the battlefields of both Gallipoli and France and Flanders where they fought with distinction. In fact they also fought in most major battles of the great War and as a result, earned many awards for gallantry but at a heavy cost too.

This excellent volume will without a doubt prove invaluable for anyone researching the men or actions of this particular battalion, as it includes a full medal roll for both the War and Victory Medals, a list of the officers who served in the battalion and Rolls of Honour for those killed in both Gallipoli and the Great War in General. There are also extracts from the official Regimental history, plus copies of maps and diagrams and a host of fascinating photographs of officers and men taken on the various fronts throughout the war. The complete list of gallantry awards made to both officers and men will be a great asset to medal collectors too.!

The author who is said to have written this volume as a result of an unanswered question has without a doubt done an excellent job in putting the volume together. It is a fitting tribute to the many brave men who laid down their lives for their country whilst wearing the uniform of the King and the cap badge of this battalion.

All in all, fascinating reading, an excellent form of reference and great value for money.

Author: Gavin Stamp

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd

ISBN: 9781861978967
Price: £8.99

The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

To Great War enthusiasts, military historians and battlefield tour guides, architects and family history researchers, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval needs little if any introduction, as this most impressive monument which bears the names of 73,000 British Commonwealth servicemen whose bodies were never identified, not only stands out magnificently in the French countryside for miles around, but is also known by thousands worldwide.

The first time I saw this structure, I was awestruck and although I have visited it many times since, I never cease to be amazed at both the incredible loss of life and the creativity of the architect who designed this imposing structure. Thiepval is an iconic memorial to the Great War and as such, it attracts thousands of visitors each year. A large number visit it out of curiosity, however the vast majority visit it during a battlefield tour or on a side trip to see the name of a long lost ancestor who died fighting for King and country, in a war that was supposed to end all wars! One thing for certain, is that they will be impressed by its magnitude.

This splendid volume so eloquently written tells the full story behind this significant memorial and includes the reasons for its architectural importance, the way in which it commemorates the dead and of course its wider historical significance. The volume was a great success when originally published in hardback format and therefore I am sure this paperback edition will be every bit as popular and if not more popular, as at just 8.99, it represents excellent value for money and is very affordable and will without a doubt, due to the increased interest in the Great War and family history research in general, appeal to a wider range of readers of all ages.

I believe anyone whose ancestors name is featured on the memorial, will not want to be without a copy of this publication in their library!

Last updated 25 December, 2013

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