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Britain’s desert war in Egypt and Libya 1940 – 1942: the end of the beginning


The desert war in Libya and Egypt between 1940 and 1942 has deservedly attracted the attention of many historians. Fought in an unforgiving yet strategically important landscape, the fortunes of the implacable opponents swung wildly. While best remembered for the duel between Montgomery’s Eighth Army and Rommel’s Afrika Korps and the iconic battle of El Alamein, this fine account describes that there was much more to the story than that.
In addition to the role of Imperial and Italian troops, the cast of characters included the controversial Auchinleck, the long-suffering Alexander and many other gifted commanders. Gazala, Bir Hakeim, Alam Halfa and Tobruk battles were among the many fiercely fought battles.
The two sides employed weapons that have passed into immortality; Germany’s Tiger and Panther tanks and lethal 88mm anti-tank gun. The Messerschmitt BF109 fighter locked horns with desert-modified Spitfires and Hurricanes.
The author highlights the vital roles of the Royal Navy, disrupting enemy supplies, and the Royal Air Force, which eventually gained command of the air.
For a concise account of this decisive campaign, David Braddock’s authoritative yet highly readable history is unlikely to be surpassed

Glasgow at war 1939 – 45


Scotland was of grave strategic importance during the war because of its geographical position and Glasgow was the location of a significant number of important military and civil organisations as well as housing industry which was vital to the national war effort.
Glasgow’s importance attracted enemy attention on many occasions with the city and its hinterland being heavily raided by the Luftwaffe. These raids included the infamous raid on Clydebank on 13th and 14th March which killed over 500 dead and only seven houses undamaged in the town. Under relentless bombing the Glaswegians maintained their spirit and remained committed to the war effort.
Although Glasgow’s shipyards, munitions factories and other industries were all vital to the war effort so too was the location of the city itself. The Clyde was the end point for many Atlantic convoys bringing precious food, material and men to the war-struck British Isles and the city was thus a vital link in the nation’s war effort.
No member of the population of Glasgow escaped the war, whether it was the huge numbers of men and women from the area who came forward for service in the military or in roles such as the Home Guard, ARP services, nursing, working in vital war industries, struggling to maintain a household under strict rationing and the stresses of wartime life, or children evacuated from the city to the rural areas of Scotland to escape the expected bombing campaign.
Glasgow was also home to a sizable Italian community which was badly affected by internment and the subsequent tight restrictions on movement and civil rights. The Italian community was also subjected to violent attacks when rioting mobs attacked Italian owned business throughout the city.

Edinburgh at War 1939-1945 poignantly commemorates the efforts and achievements of Edinburgh: workers, fighters, families divided, all surviving astounding tests.

Female railway workers in World War 2.


During World War II women took on railway roles which were completely new to females. They worked as porters and guards, on the permanent way, and in maintenance and workshop operations. In this book Susan Major features the voices of women talking about their wartime railway experiences, using interviews by the Friends of the National Railway Museum. The interviews cover many areas of Britain.
Many were working in ‘men’s jobs’, or working with men for the first time, and these interviews offer tantalising glimpses of conditions, sometimes under great danger. What was it about railway work that attracted them? It’s fascinating to contrast their voices with the way they were portrayed in official publicity campaigns and in the light of attitudes to women working in the 1940s. These women talk about their difficulties in a workplace not designed for women – no toilets for example, the attitudes of their families, what they thought about American GIs and Italian POWs, how they coped with swearing and troublesome colleagues, rules about stockings. They describe devastating air raids and being thrust into tough responsibilities for the first time.
This book fills a gap, as most books on women’s wartime roles focus on the military services or industrial work. It offers valuable insights into the perceptions and concerns of these young women. As generations die out and families lose a direct connection, it becomes more important to be able to share their voices with a wider audience.