8 November 2010

Wartorn: 1861-2010, Exploring Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress - HBO Documentary

American Civil War doctors called it hysteria, melancholia and insanity. During the First World War it was known as shell-shock. By World War II, it became combat fatigue. Today, it is clinically known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a crippling anxiety that results from exposure to life-threatening situations such as combat.

The HBO special Wartorn 1861-2010 brings attention to the invisible wounds of war. Drawing on personal stories of American soldiers whose lives and psyches were torn asunder by the horrors of battle and PTSD, the documentary chronicles the lingering effects of combat stress and post-traumatic stress on military personnel and their families throughout American history, from the Civil War through today’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The HBO Documentary Films presentation debuts on Thursday November 11th, only on HBO in the US.

The documentary shares stories through soldiers’ revealing letters and journals; photographs and combat footage.

“Combat fatigue” was considered a character flaw in World War II. In a famous story, Gen. George S. Patton slapped a soldier hospitalized with nervous exhaustion, ordering “that yellow SOB” back to the front. It took 50 years for WWII vets to be diagnosed with PTSD. Today, in the documentary, a group opens up publicly about their traumas for the first time. Al Maher, who was a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, laments the toll his war experience took on his family life – he became abusive and took to drinking. As a result, he has not spoken to his sons in 25 years. Abner Greenberg, a corporal in the Marines who lost two best friends in Iwo Jima, kept his wartime traumas pent up and never shared them with his children until he joined a PTSD group and discovered what was wrong with him. Former Army sergeant Bill Thomas remembers shooting four Germans, and being moved when the sole survivor showed him a family photo. “How do you explain the horrors?” Greenberg asks. “It consumes you.”

For more information visit the HBO site.

7 November 2010

Lost Between Worlds - A World War II Journey of Survival

Lost Between Worlds is based on a journal written between 1940 and 1945, by Edward H Herzbaum, when he was in his twenties. It is a first-hand account of his horrendous wartime experiences, both physical and psychological, that has just been published for the first time by his daughter: the journal had been lying in a suitcase for 65 years until it was discovered
and translated.

The book spans a period of history from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to the end of the Italian Campaign in 1945. It recounts how Edward was arrested and interned by the Germans but escaped. He travelled to eastern Poland to avoid being recaptured, but there he was arrested by the Russians and deported to a Gulag, where he suffered starvation, brutality and horrific working and living conditions.

After Germany's attack on Russia, Edward and the other Polish prisoners were amnestied and released to join a newly-formed Polish army, under British command. They travelled through Middle Asia, Iraq, Iran, British Palestine and Egypt, eventually fighting in the Italian Campaign.

Edward writes at times with humour and irony and at other times with desperation, about his arduous journey and the awful psychological after-effects of the experiences which he and the other Poles had endured. The loss of family, friends and country and the feelings of loneliness at finding themselves completely displaced from their 'old world', with no knowledge of what their 'new world' might look like, even if they survived the war.

Edward Herzbaum, born in 1920 to Polish Jewish parents, was educated in Poland. During WWII he was arrested and escaped from both the Germans and Russians and then fought in the Polish Army. In 1946 he settled in the UK and became an architect. He died in 1967.

Available from:
Troubador Publishing

Aterrem em Portugal! - Landed in Portugal

“Aterrem em Portugal” was published in November 2008. It contains the history of dozens of landings from Allied and Axis planes that happened in Portugal during World War II. With the country lying between the routes that linked the United Kingdom to the operational theatres in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa and others there were over one hundred emergency landings during the six years of conflict.

About a dozen airmen from the Commonwealth and from USA that where in Portugal between 1941 and 1945, were interviewed for the book. From others, already deceased, it was possible to include information from diaries that family members still posses.

Several Portuguese witnesses also recount their versions about what they saw and lived during those years when war surrounded the country. It was also possible to put together documents from Portuguese, British, Americans, Australians and German archives.

Note that the book Aterrem em Portugal is in Portuguese. However, the fascinating website contains a large amount of information in English, including a list of all the planes that crashed in Portugal during the war.

Available from:
The Author - Carlos Guerreiro

6 October 2010

Albanian Escape - The True Story of U.S. Army Nurses behind Enemy Lines

On November 8, 1943, U.S. Army nurse Agnes Jensen stepped out of a cold rain in Catania, Sicily, into a C-53 transport plane. But she and twelve other nurses never arrived in Bari, Italy, where they were to transport wounded soldiers to hospitals farther from the front lines. A violent storm and pursuit by German Messerschmitts led to a crash landing in a remote part of Albania, leaving the nurses, their team of medics, and the flight crew stranded in Nazi-occupied territory.

What followed was a dangerous nine-week game of hide-and-seek with the enemy, a situation President Roosevelt monitored daily. Albanian partisans aided the stranded Americans in the search for a British Intelligence Mission, and the group began a long and hazardous journey to the Adriatic coast. During the following weeks, they crossed Albania's second highest mountain in a blizzard, were strafed by German planes, managed to flee a town moments before it was bombed, and watched helplessly as an attempt to airlift them out was foiled by Nazi forces.

Albanian Escape is the suspense-filled story of the only group of Army flight nurses to have spent any length of time in occupied territory during World War II. The nurses and flight crew endured frigid weather, survived on little food, and literally wore out their shoes trekking across the rugged countryside. Thrust into a perilous situation and determined to survive, these women found courage and strength in each other and in the kindness of Albanians and guerrillas who hid them from the Germans.

Available from:
University Press of Kentucky

The Grey Wolves of Eriboll

The surrender of the German U-boat fleet at the end of World War II was perhaps the principal event in the war's endgame which signified to the British people that peace really had arrived. It is little known that the majority of the surrenders of U-boats on active west-European sea patrols in May 1945 were supervised in Loch Eriboll, an isolated sea loch on Scotland's far north-westernmost coast

With an estimated 160 U-boats on active patrol at the end of the war, it was imperative that these boats were made aware of the capitulation of German armed forces, that they accepted the surrender arrangements and then proceeded, surfaced, to designated British ports.

Loch Eriboll's attraction as the reception port was its isolation and its safe, deep-water anchorage - ideal for the arrival of armed U-boats that might still be intent on one last show of defiance. News of the momentous event was heavily censored - nothing appeared in the local press. Thirty-three U-boats, their officers and men surrendered between 10th and 22nd May 1945. The boats were arrested, boarded and disarmed; in some cases this vital exercise was completed by the simple expedient of lobbing ammunition, explosives and torpedo pistols overboard.

Each U-boat has been positively identified and detailed information provided including contemporary photographs, boat or flotilla emblem, together with the coordinates of where each boat was eventually destroyed in the north Atlantic. However, not all were destroyed by the Allies, some were retained by the British, American, Russian or French navies as spoils of war but the vast majority were lost accidentally or scrapped with the passage of time.

The Grey Wolves of Eriboll includes a wealth of historical insights including the German Surrender Document; detailed descriptions of the construction, service careers and circumstances of each surrendered U-boat; details of the frigates that supervised the surrenders; Operation Deadlight (a hasty plan to ensure the U-boats could not again be used aggressively) and contemporary newspaper reports.

Available from:
Whittles Publishing

Air Sea Rescue During the Siege of Malta: An eyewitness account of life with HSL107 1941-43

Air Sea Rescue During the Siege of Malta provides one of few available eyewitness tales about the often overlooked role of the Air / Sea Rescue teams during World War II. Focussing on High Speed Launch HSL107 which rescued close to 100 pilots during the siege of Malta, this tale is a personal account by Bill Jackson, a crew member of HSL 107.

While everyone around them was hell-bent on death and destruction, the crews of the Air / Sea Rescue Units were dedicated to the survival of both friend and foe alike. They carried out their job with little recognition and with great heroism. Battling the elements, often in appalling sea conditions, and under near-constant air attack from a most determined enemy, the units shared the privations endured by the islanders, coming close to starvation as the Axis forces inched toward invasion.

This book shares with the reader the elation of successful rescues, the exhilaration of the High Speed Launch at full throttle, and the determination of the Units to turn out at all hours in all weathers to go to the aid of both Allied and Axis pilots.

Bill Jackson was born and raised in Workington, Cumbria. He attended RAF Cranwell No 1 Electrical and Wireless School and was posted to Malta as a Wireless Operator Mechanic (WOM) with crew of HSL 107, the 'Old Lady' of Malta. Bill was repatriated in Sept 1943. He sadly died in late 2009, before this account was published.

Available from:
Troubador Publishing

25 September 2010

Master of None - The Life Enriched Reminiscences of a 20th Century Survivor

An autobiography of a retired Army officer, Master of None follows the complete life story of Major Douglas Goddard, from his early memoirs of childhood days in south east London and Suffolk farms, then focusing on his service as a regular army officer who fought with the 43rd Wessex Division during World War 2 from the Normandy landings through to Bremen. After the war, he was involved in the repatriation of some 30,000 Russian & Polish displaced people from the area around the Belsen/Bergen Nazi concentration camps (including attending the trial of the camp guards) and saw post-war service in the Middle East during the Suez Canal crisis.

In 1938 he enlisted with the Territorial Army as part of the front line anti-invasion force before regimental duty with the 112th (Wessex) Field Regiment Royal Artillery (RA). During the Second World War he landed on Juno Beach in June 1944 and took part in major campaigns including Hill 112/Maltot, assault crossing of the Seine, Market Garden (Arnhem), breeching the Siegfried Line, the Ardennes offensive, assault crossing of the Rhine and finally through Holland into Germany at Bremen.

In 1946 he was granted a regular commission in the RA serving as an Adjutant (Dortmund), Staff Captain (London), Battery Captain in Egypt during the Suez Canal crisis then Jordan, before returning to Larkhill in the UK as a Gunnery Instructor achieving the rank of Major.

The Author has previously published the 112th Wessex Field Regiment’s wartime history which sold some 600 copies and is a regular speaker on battlefield tours, with an annual engagement mentoring on the Joint Services Command & Staff College Advanced ‘Realities of War’ course.

For more information on Major Goddard's wartime service, see the BBC People's War site.

Available from:
Troubador Publishing

26 August 2010

Trautmann's Journey: From Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend

Every football fan knows the legend of Bert Trautmann. Fifteen minutes from the end of the 1956 FA Cup Final, Trautmann - the goalkeeper for Manchester City - falls spectacularly mid-tackle. He continues to play on to the end of the game, ensuring Manchester City win the cup. An X-ray later reveals a broken neck.

But there is more to this legend than a plucky goalkeeper. Bert Trautmann was born Bernhardt Trautmann in Germany in 1923. Brought up in a country already in the grip of National Socialism, he joined the Hitler Youth at the age of ten and went to fight for the Fatherland when he was seventeen. Despite enduring inconceivable hardships in the name of war, Trautmann continued to believe wholeheartedly in the cause. Until one day he stumbled into enemy territory to be greeted by the words, 'Fancy a cup of tea, Fritz?'

What follows is an extraordinary story of transformation. Bernhardt - a Nazi living in a POW camp in Cheshire - becomes Bert. From an amateur footballer working on a bomb disposal unit in Liverpool, to celebrated Manchester City goalkeeper adored by thousands, Catrine Clay charts Trautmann's conversion from Hitler Youth star to all-England football hero, mirroring Europe's own journey through the horrors of war to a fragile post-war peace.

Available from:

Two Survived: The Timeless WWII Epic of Seventy Days at Sea in an Open Boat

On August 21, 1940, the German armed merchant raider Widder torpedoed the British merchantman SS Anglo Saxon approximately 800 miles west of the Canary Islands. The survivors were machine-gunned as they tried to escape in their lifeboats.

One little boat escaped with seven men. Five of them perished, but Robert Tapscott and Wilbert Widdicombe endured for seventy full days and 2,300 miles to landfall on the other side of the Atlantic.

This is the incredible account of their ordeal, one of the most thrilling stories of the sea ever written—and one that almost never came to light. “It has seldom happened,” writes William McFee in the introduction, “that a narrative so circumstantial, so entirely stripped of all humbug and false sentiment, has come out of the depths of the sea, to inspire us with admiration for human valor.”

Read more about the SS Anglo Saxon on the Imperial War Museum website.

Available from:

7 July 2010

Shattered Walls - A World War II Memoir: From Cherbourg to Berlin

The author of Shattered Walls, G. Richard Morgan, served with the Third Platoon, Company G of the Second Battalion, 407th Infantry Regiment - 102nd Infantry Division.

Landing at Cherbourg, directly from the US, in mid-Sept of 1944, the 407th Infantry Regiment was rapidly sent into combat. They saw major action reaching the Roer River and pushed on to the Elbe, being part of the resistance to the Bulge. At one point, Morgan was captured by the Germans, but luckily escaped.

When they reached Berlin, they waited for the Russians and drank vodka with them on May 3.

At that point there remained only two of the original 40 men in his platoon.

View a preview of Shattered Walls on Lulu.com.

Visit the author's website.

Available from:

Spitting on a Soldier’s Grave - Court Martialed after death, the story of the forgotten Irish and British soldiers

The story of the Irishmen who deserted from the Irish Army to join the Allies in the struggle against fascism and Nazism during the Second World War, has been kept secret for over half a century. These men fought, and sometimes died, in some of the bloodiest battles of the war. And after the war they were all Court Martialed - even the dead.

This meticulously researched book tells the story of the men who fought for freedom but were vilified after death. It tells the story of men like Joseph Mullally who died on D-Day, 6 June 1944, fighting with the British Army on the beaches of Normandy - a year before his court-martial. And Stephen McManus who'd already suffered torture and starvation whilst being worked to death in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Gerry O'Neill risked his life with the newly formed Irish Navy, rescuing wounded British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. And Nicholas McNamara volunteered to serve with RAF Bomber Command knowing it meant almost certain death.

The freedoms and democratic rights we enjoy today were earned by men like these, who fought, and sometimes died, on the home front and the battlefields of World War II. The stories of the deserters from the Irish Army are now told in Spitting on a Soldier's Grave.

Author's website - Robert Widders
Listen to an interview with the author on BBC Radio 4

Available from:

Memoirs of WWII – The True stories of a Canadian Fighter Pilot

An anecdotal account of one man's journey from growing up in New Brunswick to joining the Air Force and becoming a pilot to his time in World War II and accounts of the friends he met and the trouble they got themselves into along the way.

The author is a receiver of the Distinguished Flying Cross which was bestowed upon him by King George VI. Laurie flew alongside Douglas Bader in Westhampnett while he was in 610 Squadron and was later an instructor who taught WWII heroes, like George Beurling, to fly.

Visit the book's blog for extracts.

Available from:

8 May 2010

WWII in the Pacific - DVD collection

If your particular interest in the Second World War focuses on the battles in the Pacific, then you are particularly well catered for at the moment.

As well as the mini series The Pacific, and reprinted editions of classic books, Reader Digest have now brought out a 6 DVD collection, containing over 12 hours of footage, including period newsreels.

The 6 DVDs are:

  • America Taken by Surprise - The story of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor
  • Attack & Counter Attack - America's offensive in the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal and Tarawa
  • Victory in the Pacific - American forces turn the tide
  • Crucial Turning Points - A look at the stories behind 15 key battles
  • Headline Stories of the 20th Century - Authentic Hearst theatrical wartime newsreel footage
  • Going for Broke - The largely untold story of Japanese-American soldiers in WWII.
Plenty of material to keep you busy if the US experience of the Pacific War is your thing!

Available from:
Amazon (UK) (note: this is a US import so is in Region 1 - NTSC - format)
Amazon (US)

14 April 2010

The Best Day Of My Life:: Memoirs of an Italian-American who spent World War II as a prisoner of the English

The Best Day of My Life is the memoir of Frank Andreani, an Italian-American who was a victim of circumstance during the Second World War.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1919, Frank returned to his parent's home country when he was a youth. There, the family lost their money, and he ended up having to strike out on his own. Frank experienced harsh employers and a non-benevolent priest, but ultimately found a good job in Rome and settled into a comfortable life with his fiance.

This abruptly ended with his conscription into the Italian Army. Sent to North Africa, Frank fought and was captured at Tobruk, which lead to years in British POW camps in Eygpt, India and Australia.

Available from:
Booksurge Publishing

11 April 2010

World War II Lost Films - New series on the History Channel

World War II Lost Films is a new series, starting tomorrow on the History Channel. Mixing restored colour footage with narrated stories, the series tells the stories of 12 individuals who served with the US forces during the war. Some of these involve readings from diaries and letters, but the real interest for me is the personal accounts from the veterans.

The individuals covered in the series include army nurse June Wandrey, who served from the beginning of the war in North Africa to the liberation of the camps in Germany; Shelby Westbrook, a young African American who became a member of the Tuskegee Airmen; Jimmie Kanaya, the son of Japanese immigrants, who served in the U.S. Army and was imprisoned in Europe; and Jack Werner, a Jewish émigré who escaped from Austria before the war and ended up fighting in the Pacific Theater.

From the preview of the first episode, which includes an interview with Jack Werner, the series looks like it will certainly be worth watching. Werner describes his escape from Austria as the hold of the Nazis increased, and his arrival in the US. He goes on to explain his desire to strike back at the regime, but fate sent him to the Pacific. The episode also features an interesting narrative from Richard Tregaskis, describing his experiences on Guadalcanal. Werner's interview is a mixture of his own words, spoken in person and also by a 'younger' actor (Tregaskis' words are spoken by an actor as he passed away in 1973). The actors providing voices in the series include LL Cool J, Steve Zahn, Ron Livingston, James Kyson Lee, Amy Smart and Rob Lowe.

I look forward to viewing the later episodes, as the mixture of some previously unseen film footage and first hand accounts describing little known (in the UK) perspectives of the war will make a refreshing change from the oft-repeated documentaries on television. But don't expect much coverage of non-US participation in the war - enjoy it for what it is, that is a US series similar to Ken Burns' The War, made for a US audience, which still has plenty to offer to anyone interested in WWII.

See previews from the series on the Sky website and a video on the making of WWII Lost Films.

5 April 2010

With The Old Breed - Eugene Sledge

The inspiration for the forthcoming series The Pacific, Eugene B. Sledge's memoir With The Old Breed has been reissued in paperback by Ebury Press.

In 1944 Sledge landed on the beach at Peleliu in 1944 as a twenty-year-old new recruit to the US Marines. Involved in combat both there and at Okinawa, where ‘the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets’, he witnessed first-hand two of the fiercest and filthiest Pacific battles of the Second World War.

Based on notes Sledge secretly kept hidden in a copy of the Bible, With The Old Breed captures with simplicity and honesty the horrendous conditions he, and his fellow marines, endured in this relentless theatre of war. From the heat and incessant rain, to debilitating tropical diseases and the ubiquitous jungle rot that ate away leather, canvas and flesh, Sledge describes the dehumanising horror of living with ever-present death.

Philosophical and dignified, With The Old Breed also reflects candidly on the struggle to remain human in the face of unthinkable depravity. Sledge’s hatred for the brutality of the Japanese never blinds him to their shared horrible fate of being joined together in death on Pacific beaches, nor prevents him from recognising that his fellow marines sometimes committed similar savagery.

Detailing his own journey from patriotic innocence to battle-scarred veteran, Sledge's memoir is a graphic account of war in the Pacific and a moving reflection on the senselessness of war.

E. B. Sledge was born in Mobile, Alabama. In late 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was then sent to the Pacific where he fought at Peleliu and Okinawa. After returning from the war he immediately began working on a book based on the notes he had taken while posted in the Pacific theatre, which became With the Old Breed. Sledge joined the biology faculty of Alabama College, where he taught until his retirement. Sledge died on March 3rd, 2001.
See Wikipedia for his full biography.

Available from:
Ebury Press

21 March 2010

U-Boat Adventures - Firsthand Accounts from World War II

Twenty-two U-boat veterans tell their chilling stories in this collection of their combat experiences in World War II, recorded by the author during several years of travel throughout Germany. It is one of very few books to examine the lives of the enlisted crew in the infamous submarines. Melanie Wiggins interviewed seventeen men and five of their commanders to take readers into the terrifying world of underwater warfare where every man helped determine the fate of his boat.

While tracking down the U-boat veterans, Wiggins came across photographs and secret diaries and gained access to personnel records. A reunion of the U-682 crew and interviews with Admiral Otto Kretschmer two months before his death and the ninety-four-year-old Commander Jürgen Wattenberg netted a wealth of information. Among the individual sagas included are Radioman Hans Bürck's description of his 1942 patrol to Aruba and Herman Wien's description of U-180 transporting an Indian anarchist to Madagascar.

Available from:
Naval Institute Press

Crossing the Zorn The January 1945 Battle at Herrlisheim as Told by the American and German Soldiers Who Fought It

Conceived in desperation after the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945, Germany’s Operation Nordwind culminated in the frozen Alsatian fields surrounding the Zorn River. In what was expected to be an easy offensive, the German 10th Waffen SS Panzer Division attacked the American 12th Armored Division near the villages of Herrlisheim and Weyersheim. Neither army foresaw the savage violence that ensued.

Combining the vivid eyewitness accounts of veterans from both sides of the conflict with information gleaned from a variety of long-unavailable print sources, this richly detailed history casts a fascinating light on a little-known but crucial battle in the Second World War. Common stalwart German and American soldiers carried out near-impossible orders.

Available from:

A Bristol Soldier in the Second World War

Having been lucky to suvive a German air raid on his Bristol home, Herbert Haddrell's personal account of the harrowing experience of being called up and sent to Normandy, where he was seriously wounded after 43 days of battle, is a fascinating and moving story.

Using Herbert's recollections and some valuable letters, diaries and accounts of fellow soldiers, this book reveals the tale of a nineteen-year-old caught up in the midst of one of history's darkest moments. Supplemented with background information about the war and life in Bristol, this volume also includes rare photographs and archive material from the author's personal collection.

Compiled by Herbert's son, this book is a poignant reminder of the terrible ordeal that so many brave young men had to face in order to defend king and country, and perhaps even more importantly, their families and homes.

Available from:
The History Press

On and off the Flight Deck Reflections of a Naval Fighter Pilot in World War 2

Hank Adlam began his naval flying career in 1941, his first operational posting was to the newly-formed No. 890 Squadron. The squadron’s first operational role was to protect a convoy sailing from New York and bound for Greenock. Their major task was to protect the ship’s squadron of Fairey Swordfish anti-submarine aircraft and to destroy any long-range Lufwaffe Fw Condor reconnaissance patrols that were transmitting convoy positions to the waiting U-boat wolf-packs. During this first operational voyage he lost his best friend who was shot down. Later, on this same initiation to front-line operational flying, Hank was forced to ditch into gale-torn Atlantic Ocean.

In the autumn of 1942, 890 Squadron joined the fleet carrier HMS Illustrious, again involving convoy protection. During one patrol he helped destroy an enemy Blohm und Voss Bv 138 Seaplane. Illustrious sailed for the Mediterranean arriving in Malta, with the objective of providing air cover for the landings at Salerno. 1944 saw the Squadron pilots despatched aboard HMS London and then they briefly joined HMS Atheling, to provide air cover for a strong fleet attacking Japanese shipping around the Andaman Islands. When 890 was disbanded he joined 1839 Squadron flying the new Grumman Hellcat.

Available from:
Pen & Sword Books

The War Diaries of a Panzer Soldier: Erich Hager with the 17th Panzer Division on the Russian Front • 1941-1945

This book is a unique personal account of the war on the Russian Front, written using the diaries and photos of Erich Hager who served in the 39th Panzer Regiment, 17th Panzer Division throughout the war in Russia.

Hager rose to the rank of Unteroffizier and served as a company commander’s tank radio operator. During this time he kept diaries in which he recorded the events he went through every day at the front. His diaries have been translated and are presented with additional notes. Hager also took many personal photographs of comrades, and vehicles – many are included here. The book also includes a chapter on the 17th Panzer Division.

Despite taking part in many in many battles on the Russian Front, including the attempted relief effort at Stalingrad, little information on the 17th Panzer Division has been published. Hager’s material provides a tremendous insight into the war on the Russian Front from a front line soldier’s perspective.

Available from:
Schiffer Books

18 February 2010

Favourable Winds - free book to download

Favourable Winds - A Twentieth Century Odyssey tells the personal story of Gerry O'Neill, who sadly passed away last year.

Gerry was a member of the Merchant Navy during the Second World War, and while this book covers his entire life, the chapters relating to his wartime experience are of particular interest. I have extracted these from the table of contents to indicate a flavour of the content of Favourable Winds.

Growing Up in North Dublin and Going to Sea 1925-41

Canadian Pacific Steamships, 1941-42
  • R.M.S. Empress of Asia
  • Escape from Singapore
Irish Shipping Limited, 1942
  • s.s. Irish Larch (ex Haifa Trader)
  • The Matriculation Examination
British Merchant Navy, 1942-43
  • s.s. Lornaston
  • Air Raid on London Dockland
  • Invasion of North Africa
Ministry of War Transport, 1943
  • North Africa – Interpreter, Algiers and Oran
  • Spared by a German Airman
  • Danke Schön, Fritz, Für Unserer Leben, und Guten Reisen
Marriage and a Brief Honeymoon, 1943
  • Another Welcome Respite from the War
  • Du Bist Mein Ganzen Herz
Special Exercises, 1943
  • Operations Mincemeat and Cockade
  • We bury "The Man Who Never Was" at Huelva
  • An Abortive Invasion Attempt
  • Liaisons Dangereuses
Canadian Pacific Steamships, 1943-44
  • R.M.S. "Empress of Australia"
  • A Passage to India and the East
  • A Venture into the Carpet Trade
The Loneliest Christmas I Ever Spent, 1943
  • A Bleak Day in Belfast
  • No Room at the Inn
Stranded in Cork, 1944-
  • A Most Opportune Football Match
Farm Labourer, 1944
  • A Welcome Break from Hostilities
  • A Few Peaceful Days in Bangor, North Wales
Further Episodes on the R.M.S Empress of Australia, 1944
  • Encounter with a Hurricane
  • Momentous First Visit to New York
Russian Convoy, 1944
  • Repatriation of Soviet Prisoners from French Labour Camps
  • Inability to Save Lives at Sea
  • Libera Nos a Malo
Flower Class Corvettes
  • North Atlantic Convoys
North Atlantic Convoys, 1944-45
  • The Toss of a Coin and the Loss of a Friend
  • A Great Personal Tragedy
  • Non Nobis sed Vobis
Off to War in the Pacific, 1944
  • A Frightening Passage through the Panama Canal
  • Russian Roulette in New Guinea
The Battle of Leyte Gulf, 1944
  • The Most Incisive Battle of the War against Japan
  • “War is too important to be left to the generals” - Winston Churchill
The Battle of Iwo Jima, 1945
  • A Hard-Fought Encounter with the Japanese
The Last and Costliest Battle of the War – Okinawa, 1945
  • Fortunate to Survive a Near Fatality
Sojourn in Honolulu, 1945
  • Experience of U.S. Care and Attention
Favourable Winds is downloadable free of charge in PDF format, or you can purchase the print edition from Lulu.

A Desert Rats Scrapbook: Cairo to Berlin 1940-1945

In 1940 Ted Fogg and Ernest Webster joined The Desert Rats, one of the most famous divisions to fight in the Second World War. They were posted to the Western Desert and fought with the 7th Armoured Division against Mussolini's soldiers and Rommel's Afrika Korps. They were at Beda Fomm, Alamein and Tripoli, finally driving the Axis from Africa at Tunis. Next came Salerno and the Italian Campaign before withdrawal to Britain in readiness for D-Day. Moving through France, Belgium, Holland and on into Germany itself, they were both present at Luneburg Heath when Montgomery took the final surrender of the German Forces in north-west Europe. Eventually they took part in the great Victory Parade in Berlin in 1945.

The Desert Rats Scrapbook is the story of these two young men, told through over 180 photographs, many from the personal collection of the late Trooper Ted Fogg who was attached to TAC HQ, and the recollection of Sergeant Ernest Webster who was a tank driver and later was attached to HQ as a planner. Their friendship continued until Ted Fogg's death in 1986. Ernest Webster, at the age of 92, lives on at his home in Derbyshire. Roger Fogg, who painstakingly collated this unique record, is Ted's son.

Available from:
The History Press