Posts Tagged ‘Churchill’

A new 4star review from Allie Sumner

February 17, 2016
Second edition

Second edition

I will go ahead and get my only criticism out of the way. From the title, I felt like there would be more actual story than there was. There are some experiences detailed regarding the author and his family, but I really wanted more. The enticing thing about a book like this is the lure of seeing such a tremulous time in history play out from human eyes and emotions instead of the dry history rhetoric we all know from school. The parts of this that are in the book are fantastic. I really wanted more.

The quotes are perfectly placed and add that needed emotion while reading the dryer details of war. It actually helps keep the reader interested instead of skipping those pages. There are many things that Mr. Churchill did in his political career that I disagree with. However, there are also things I think he handled in an impressive manner. Using him for the majority of the quotes was a brilliant way to “live” this story like you were actually there.

The book is well researched and well formatted. There were a few of the statistics that really surprised me. I have read a lot about World War Two and I was surprised to find new information. These added details really help the reader understand the immense strategy and luck that kept Britain from being invaded.

In conclusion, I enjoyed learning more about this time in history through the eyes of someone who lived it. I would like to see the author write a book with more eye witness accounts of this time. Mainly, the years after the war ended and the rebuilding of life.



Britain at War 1939-1945 in Ace Reviews

November 14, 2015
Second edition

Second edition

You can see this at

Book Review: Britain at War 1939-1945 by James Lingard

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– Four Stars

[Further information about the book is available at


I just finished reading Britain at War 1939-1945 by James Lingard.  Britain at War is a chronological story of the major events that occurred during World War II, interspersed with the author’s, and other personal eye witness accounts of those events, affecting Britain — during those years.

The text introduces the reader to the state and effectiveness of the British RAF, German Luftwaffe, British Navy, German U-Boats, E-Boats, and ground offensives.  Interesting reading includes informative facts of the high number of civilian casualties resulting from German bombings in London as well as the major campaigns against the Germans at major fronts in North Africa, India, Italy, Poland and France.

Personal stories are included in the text describing Lingard’s experience as a young boy in Britain, one of which was learning that the shelter his family lived in had been destroyed by German bombs while they were luckily away at the time.  Another interesting personal story includes relocating to the South Britain coast with his family for safety that was believed to be less interest to German bombers that ended up being surprisingly bombed by a few of the German Luftwaffe forcing their departure from the location.

Other interesting reading describes the V1 and V2 bombs the Germans developed towards the end of the war used on Britain while at the same time the Americans had developed their atom bomb that would eventually be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war against Japan.  The text also gives interesting facts surrounding the build-up of 1.5 million American soldiers in Britain prior to the famous D-Day invasion, the 150,000 man offensive, 10,000 man casualty, the Allies put forth on D-Day to famously successfully storm the beaches of Normandy.


Much is written about World War II.  A lot of what is written are lengthy texts containing mostly facts and dates surrounding the war.  What I like about Britain at War is the text is not too exhaustive but gives a chronological, succinct account of the major events of the war.  Strategies of both the Axis and Allies are given brief attention and how they succeeded or failed, which I liked.  The book I find to be a good overview of what transpired in a shorter text form while covering the major events.

Another strength of the book compared to other wartime books published is the personal accounts of the author while living through the war described.  These add a unique human element to the book that gives the reader a sense of realness to the war and how it affected real every-day people, in particular this family in Britain living through the German air bombings.

Finally, the facts that were conveyed in the book I felt were not too over done to overwhelm and bore the reader.  I liked that attention was given to the number of soldiers involved in various campaigns on both the Allies and Axis, casualties suffered, and interesting facts about the British RAF Spitfires and Hurricanes, German Luftwaffe, naval destroyers, U-boats, E-boats, etc., as well as explanation of military strategy from both the Axis and Allies perspective described.


The book was well-edited.  I didn’t encounter grammatical or spelling errors.  The book was put together well, one chapter building on the other chronologically from 1939-1945 as the title conveys, so I cannot say that editing was a weakness.

What I would have liked maybe from the book is more personal stories.  I think the commonly known war campaigns and facts may have outdone the personal stories as far as balance in the book goes.

Significant personal stories worth mentioning may have been limited to the author but maybe more other primary accounts heard from neighbours, friends or relatives and how their lives were affected as well during the time would give the book the additional human touch.  Much attention is given to the actual war itself throughout the world than simply what was actually going on day-to-day in Britain.


Britain at War is a terrific book covering the chronological major events of World War II from a Brit’s perspective.  The book contains coverage of wartime facts, military strategy from Axis and Allies, a quote per chapter from Churchill, Britain’s leader during the war, descriptions and effectiveness of various military weapons used during the war, as well as personal stories from the author himself having lived through the bombings in England by the German Luftwaffe and, gladly, avoiding a ground invasion from Germany of Britain all together.

The book flows well in its chronological account of the major events of the war.  The personal stories keep the book personable and the facts conveyed about the major events of the war were not overdone to bore the reader and make a stale book.  It’s also a concisely written book that leaves the reader with a good survey of the major events of the years 1939-1945 worldwide as well as in Britain itself.  I give Britain at War 1939-1945, 4 stars.

New 5 star review by Don Slone

November 1, 2015

Britain at War 1939 to 1945 By James Lingard


“Who cares about Poland? Where is it, anyway? What is to become of us?”

So exclaims author James Lingard’s mother at the beginning of the murderous world conflict that would ultimately claim millions of lives on both sides of the Atlantic and indeed, from both allies and foes alike.

As a young boy in Britain during the critical war years of 1939 through 1945, Lingard and his mother and father endured many hardships and constantly lived in peril, as did all of the U.K.’s citizenry. This is his excellent story, well-researched for historical accuracy, but highly personalized to maintain the interest of even the most casual reader.

Recalling his first air raid, Lingard tells us the first words of an air raid warden, who had been looking for them while they huddled in a nearby wood — survivors of a picnic dangerously interrupted:

“I was about to say you should have been in your shelter. But the shelter received a direct hit. There’s no trace of it. Just a huge crater. You’d all have been blown to smithereens.”

It is war’s capriciousness in dealing out life and death that the author documents so eloquently in this book. Bombs fall in regular and terrifying numbers. The nation’s leaders come dangerously close to making disastrous decisions. And the stalwart British people do what they must to survive yet another day.

On a trip to the shore, Lingard waves happily to a low-flying airplane. Its German pilot waves back. And the small boy narrowly escapes arrest as a spy.

Lingard’s mother frequently listens to the wireless for war news, but is often more captivated by music such as “Run Rabbit Run,” played at a fast tempo to speed up production in the factories.

“We still had no effective answer to the German might. Hitler’s bombers continued to harass us, and he tried his utmost to starve us into submission. In the period May to December, 1940, the enemy sank 745 merchant vessels with a gross tonnage of over three million tons. On 17th to 19th October, German U-boats sank 33 ships, twenty of which were in one convoy . . .”

It is this very attention to detail — combined with the book’s inherent human interest — that elevates it above so many books about World War Two. For me personally, it put a very real face on a dark period in civilized history — a period which I, like so many others of my Baby Boomer generation, only experience through watching dry documentaries on The History Channel.

How refreshing, then, to have this warm and intimate look inside a great nation’s stalwart struggle against almost insurmountable odds — and to rejoice with the author at its ultimate survival.

Five stars to Britain at War, and a hearty recommendation to librarians everywhere to acquire a copy so future generations can become enlightened.

Amazon Link

Britain in WW2 New 5 star review

October 1, 2015

Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers’ Favorite – 5 stars. 30th September 2015

Britain at War 1939 to 1945: What Was Life Like During the War? by James Lingard is a chronicle of the Second World War through the eyes of a British citizen. It begins with the discernible preparations for attack, like digging trenches and underground shelters, or adapting to blackout regimes. A good picture of the difficult times emerges from this with the rationing of essentials, unheated rooms or frequent blackouts becoming commonplace. The Thames being visible at night giving away the adjoining areas to bombers during raids, the author mentions, led to greater share of bombs being received by the areas around the river.

This book also gives a good account of the Allies’ campaigns in all parts of the world.

The frequent exhortations by great leaders like Winston Churchill keeping morale high, the national spirit remaining alive at all times, can be seen in these pages. Rather than from a professional angle, James has done a wonderful job of reflecting the nature and depth of many a military campaign from the viewpoint of the survivors. I found this a beautiful representation of the fears the public had and the remarkable resilience they showed to the recurring difficulties of living.

I can’t help but relish the providential escape the author and his clan had when, on hearing an air raid siren, they happened to arrive late at the shelter, only to find the very shelter destroyed by bombs!

Second edition

Second edition

For further information go to or


September 15, 2015

BRITAIN IN WW2 is a new website about the home front.

Second edition

Second edition

BRITAIN IN WW2 reviews

August 25, 2015
Second edition

Second edition

A new 3/4 star review of the SECOND EDITION OF BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? by James Lingard has now been published:-

‘By Davros-10 on 22 Aug. 2015

Format: Paperback

Let me disclose up front that I received a PDF edition of this book as a giveaway in return for a review, and that the book could be just as easily categorised as “History” as “Biographies & Memoirs).

The blurb for the book says that it “gives a short insight into the horrors of the home front told from the perspective of someone who actually experienced them, a fascinating look at the harsh realities of life in Britain, life full of drama and the danger of impending death. How did a family with a small child caught up in such a war survive? There follows an overview of the major campaigns in World War II, giving an insight into the big picture, enlivened by personal experiences and quotations from Churchill.”

What attracted me to the book was the promise that it would give an insight into the horrors of the home front from the perspective of someone who actually experienced them as a young boy. And it does do this, but this section of the book is far too short, and the overview of the major campaigns section is far too long as this section is not detailed enough for anyone with even a cursory interest in the history of WWII. Having said that, the two separate parts of the book are very well written. It’s just that both are too brief and not detailed enough for my own tastes. If you are only looking for a quick look at life in Britain during the war, or a very short summary of the major campaigns of the war, add an extra star to my (3 star) rating.


August 20, 2015


REVIEWS: SECOND EDITION OF BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? by James Lingard

Two new reviews of the SECOND EDITION OF BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? by James Lingard have been published. One awarded 4 stars by a lady from Manchester who wrote:

Second edition

Second edition

‘This book is part war history, part social commentary and part memoir. In chronological order it delves into life in Britain during WWII. I don’t like reading lots of facts and figures and don’t have an interest in aircraft and war, but I do have an interest in the life of people in all kinds of situations so I skimmed the history and focused in on the story of a young boy growing up in war torn England. It is well written in this genre and my favourite part was the introductory pages which gave a brief history of his grandfather’s life. As a follow up I would encourage My Lingard to hone in on his grandfather and tell his story of a chapel going, lay preaching, trade unionist balancing social justice with holiness.’

The other a bad review from a lady in Vienna – perhaps she did not like my assertion that Hitler made serious mistakes!

Readers will have their own views but please let me know what they are.


August 13, 2015


SECOND EDITION OF BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? by James Lingard

The second edition of the book, published to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, gives a short insight into life in wartime Britain. It contains dramatic episodes and is told from the perspective of people who actually experienced the war, reflecting the emotions of the time; with an overview of the major campaigns, enlivened by quotations from Churchill’s speeches. The book will help later generations understand what life was like and evoke memories for those who were there. How did a family with a small child survive the air raids and rationing?

I am told that the chapters about the Home Front, depicting my life as a schoolboy, are particularly interesting and have made extracts from these chapters available free on Wattpad.

Second edition

Second edition


July 12, 2015



‘- – Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’ (Winston Churchill on the Battle of Britain September 1940)

Plans for the German invasion of Britain required the Luftwaffe to establish complete mastery of the air over the Channel and South-east England. Once their forces had captured the airfields of Northern France, their numerical operational superiority in the air made this seem almost inevitable to Hitler. At the start of the battle, apart from a 1,000 or so bombers and 350 Stuka dive bombers, the Germans could call on 933 fighters – many of which were Messerschmitt 109s – and in addition 375 Messerschmitt 110 fighter bombers.

Against them the British had 19 squadrons of Spitfires and 38 squadrons of Hurricanes making between 600 and 700 aircraft available to fight at any one time throughout the battle. British aircraft production had reached the point where new machines almost exactly equalled losses – an average of 62 Hurricanes and 33 Spitfires each week throughout the Battle of Britain. German industry only produced half that number of fighters. Experienced pilots were another matter, but many of those shot down were able to parachute to safety. 481 were killed or taken prisoner by the enemy.

The British also had the advantage of a secret weapon whose significance the Germans did not appreciate. We had in place along the south coast an effective radar system with a range of eighty miles – enough warning to get the fighters in the air. It also estimated the height of the incoming aircraft, but this aspect proved to be less reliable.

The German strategy from the 10th July to the 18th August 1940 was to harry convoys in the Channel and the south coast ports to draw our fighters into battle and then destroy them. They made a special effort in the week ending 17th August shooting down no less than 134 British fighters, though they believed their tally was materially greater and were unaware of the number of replacement planes entering service. On the other hand, the Germans lost 261 aircraft according to their own records (which may have been mollified to pacify Hitler) – the RAF claimed 496. This was the figure broadcast on the British news and believed by my mother.

15th August saw the heaviest fighting of the battle; all available British aircraft took part. In addition to major attacks on south east England, the Germans launched 100 heavy bombers escorted by 40 Me110 fighter bombers against Tyneside – believing it to be a soft target without fighter cover. They were detected before reaching the coast and met by elements of seven experienced British fighter squadrons which had been sent to the area to rest and regroup. Thirty German aircraft were shot down as they broke formation and fled, for a British loss of two pilots injured.

The Tyneside raid demonstrated that the Me110 was no match for either Hurricanes or Spitfires. It was too slow and lacked manoeuvrability – though it subsequently demonstrated its value as a night fighter. Equally, the dive bombers, whilst deadly as they screamed down on their targets, became sitting ducks for the fighters as they pulled out of the dive.

The Me109 was a more deadly foe, but limited in range and therefore in the time it could spend over Britain. It could out dive the Spitfires in service at the time, but lacked their manoeuvrability and the fire power of eight wing-mounted 0.303 machine guns. RAF tactics, when given the choice, was for Spitfires to attack the Messerschmitts, whilst Hurricanes took on the bombers.

The low point of the battle for the British came in the fortnight commencing 24th August, when 466 of our fighters were destroyed or seriously damaged with the loss of 231 pilots. On that day, Manston airfield was totally destroyed and never became operational again. True the Germans lost 380 planes and that over 250 new fighters rolled off the British production lines, but such a high rate of attrition could not have been maintained for long. Miraculously, Hitler believed that the RAF had been smashed beyond recovery and, as a reprisal for an RAF raid on Berlin, ordered his bombers to attack London instead of the fighter bases – one of his major strategic errors of the war.

London suffered heavily, particularly over the following ten days. The Luftwaffe made a final effort to establish supremacy and enable an invasion to be launched. In so doing, they suffered heavy losses – in excess of 600 aircraft in five weeks – double the British losses in the period. Even worse for Goering, on the night of 15th September, a heavy raid on London met an even stronger force of British fighters including squadrons from airfields north of the capital. 34 of the attacking bombers were shot down and a further 20 damaged. Then, British bombers counter-attacked and inflicted crippling damage on the invasion barges which the Germans had assembled. The invasion of Britain had to be postponed indefinitely.

The Germans switched to night raids where our fighters were much less effective, but the Thames – glinting in the moonlight – betrayed London and it suffered just as heavily as before. For fifty seven consecutive nights from the 7th September 1940, London shook under the pounding of high explosives and burned in fire storms which took decades to repair. Roughly fifty thousand people died in the blitz.

The air raid shelters – and in London the underground – saved many lives. However, two and a quarter million people were made homeless – many more than the Authorities had anticipated or acknowledged at the time. They needed food, clothing and shelter immediately, but the rescue services quickly became overwhelmed. That was part of the horror of the blitz – thousands lost everything they had, including much loved relatives. Fortunately, voluntary services such as the Canadian Red Cross stepped in to help. Local Authorities only became empowered to requisition empty properties in April 1941.

The Germans then set about attempting to destroy Britain’s war production. The centre of Coventry was destroyed on 14th November 1940, followed by Birmingham the next week and Liverpool at the end of the month. Surprisingly, machine tools in the factories were little damaged and production quickly resumed.

Just before Christmas, bombing switched to ports around the country, including Manchester with its ship canal. Then back to London on 29th December 1940 where the City of London suffered an awesome fire storm which burned for days. Somehow, St Paul’s Cathedral survived.

* * *

As for my family, we arrived in Bournemouth towards the end of June to find the resort still in holiday mode. Most families had decided to stay at home in the emergency, but our home had been bombed. The town was generally considered to be a safe refuge of no strategic importance. How could we know of Hitler’s plan to entice Britain’s fighters into the air by bombing the south coast? In any case, there had to be more important targets.

Father found us a pleasant hotel about a mile from the town centre – a short walk from the building his bank had selected for a division of its head office. We all shared a room facing away from the sea. He went off to work each morning. Mother and I walked down to sun ourselves on the beach in the company of a fair number of like-minded holidaymakers. The arrangement was of necessity temporary but nobody knew where father would be sent next.

One particular morning towards the middle of July, we arrived a little later than usual to find the beach quite crowded with mothers and young children below school age. The calm sea looked blue and inviting so we went for a paddle before settling down to build a sandcastle against the incoming tide. The ripples began to wash it away; I struggled to shore it up.

A rustle of excitement from a group nearby caused me to look up. Mother lay half asleep in some shade nearby – it could not be important. But one of them kept pointing out to sea. I looked, but the sun in my eyes soon had me back to the ruins of the sandcastle.

‘It’s coming this way.’ I looked again. Out on the horizon, a tiny speck flew very low above the surface of the sea, laboriously making its way directly towards us. Everyone settled down to watch the mystery – a single seat aircraft flying slowly below the height of the cliffs. What was it doing? Was it looking for something floating in the sea? A mine perhaps.

Nearer and nearer. Two hundred yards – one hundred yards. A gasp: ‘It can’t be. The siren hasn’t gone.’ A woman behind me screamed. I turned to look and all the adults on the beach threw themselves flat, face down on the sand. Astonishing!

I looked up at the plane, now thirty yards away and no more than forty feet above the sea. The pilot was clearly visible in a black uniform and he grinned broadly at the panic below him. I waved happily; he waved back and flew on over my head. Then I saw for the first time the black cross on the side of the tiny plane and the small swastika on its tail. But this aircraft looked so harmless, too small to carry bombs and no sign of any weapon.

A man’s voice yelled: ‘Grab that child. He’s signalling to the enemy.’ I looked up to see an angry police sergeant heading towards me.

Mother launched herself out of nowhere and flattened me. ‘He’s only a child. He doesn’t know anything about the war. We’re only here because our house was bombed.’ It took her a good five minutes to satisfy the policeman of my innocence and the people around shrank away from us. She marched me firmly back to the hotel and made me promise never again to wave at any Germans. ‘That’s the last time we go to that particular beach, but I expect we’ll find another one.’

That evening, she told father. He looked grave. ‘That must have been a spotter plane taking photographs, but why here.’

‘Why did no one shoot it down? It was so low, they could hardly have missed.’

‘Nobody was on guard. Nobody expected it. This could be serious. And you young man, next time keep your head down like everyone else.’

* * *

Two nights later, we learned the reason for the spotter plane. My parents had just said goodnight to me when the sirens sounded the alarm. We all looked at one another and reached for the gas masks. Could it be a false alarm? A hotel porter made his way down the corridor banging on each door and shouting: ‘Air raid. Everyone down the staircase and into the cellar. Quick as you can.’

Father shook his head. ‘No. I’m not leaving this room. Damned uncomfortable spending the night in a cellar crowded with people shivering with fear. Anyway, remember the Anderson shelter I put up. If we’d used that, we’d have been done for.’

Mother pleaded with him to go. ‘Think of the child.’

‘I am. My view is that if a bomb has your name on it, you’re dead whatever you do; if it doesn’t, you’re OK.’ He stuck to this belief in predestination right through the London blitz and his army service. In time of real danger, it can be a great comfort to know that your fate is decided by God whatever you do.

Still no sign of enemy attack. Mother began to relax and I went back to bed. Then we heard the first explosions – a good way off – no need to panic, but time to pray. A pause. Then a second set of explosions decidedly louder – nearer this time. Things were getting exciting. I pulled the bedclothes over my head.

The third set was close – close enough not only to rattle the windows but to shake the building. Father put his hand on my shoulder. ‘Roll under the bed if it helps. We won’t mind.’ I shook my head – but mother did shelter under her bed. Father’s doctrine of predestination is no good unless you really believe in it.

No sooner had the rumble of the explosions died away than we heard the loud drone of dozens of low flying aircraft coming straight at us. No sign of any fighters intercepting them. No ack-ack guns. We were on our own, just us and the bombers overhead. The moment of truth.

They totally ignored us – just flew on and turned over the sea back to France without a shot being fired at them as far as we could tell. Bournemouth had indeed been a soft target. It had ceased to be a comfortable refuge. Would they load up with more bombs and come straight back? None of us slept much that night, though father insisted we stay in bed and try to sleep.

I don’t know what effect air raids had on other children, but that one had a peculiar impact on me. Mother had spent the previous afternoon teaching me how to read out of an illustrated book of fairy stories. One had a full page coloured picture depicting three witches circling over a small hamlet on broomsticks, each with a black cat sitting behind her. I had a nightmare that it was those witches which had caused the explosions around me.

Mother was not amused. But then she had her own problems. Father explained to us over breakfast that he had been summoned back to London. Some branches of the bank had been hit by bombs. His team was needed to go in and save what could be saved. He would do this until the bombing eased and then join the army. He preferred to face the enemy with a gun in his hand and hit back. We could not go with him to London. It would be time to say goodbye that evening.

They discussed what to do and decided that mother and I should go and live with grandfather in Yorkshire. We both qualified as evacuees as I had not yet started school but would need to do so in September. Bournemouth had now joined London and the other south coast towns as potential targets from which the Government strongly recommended all children to be evacuated.

In this period of great sadness, mother tried to cheer me up by a last visit to our favourite beach. Not a good idea. We arrived at the cliff top to find access to the sea was prohibited. Down below, we could see perhaps a thousand soldiers constructing tank traps, laying mines and unrolling miles of barbed wire. Lorries towing guns were arriving in convoys. Bournemouth had woken up to its new position in the front line. If the Germans returned, they would not find it a soft target next time.

This was no place for children. No more beach holiday. Time to move on.

This is an extract from BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 what was life like during the war? by James Lingard

Britain in WW2

May 26, 2015
Second edition

Second edition


     To commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, my publishers are launching a second edition of BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? (ISBN: 9781504942126 paperback and ISBN: 9781504942133 e-book). It gives a short 33,500 word insight into life in wartime Britain told from the perspective of people who actually experienced it; with an overview of the major campaigns, enlivened by quotations from Churchill’s speeches. How did a family with a small child survive the air raids and rationing?

Life in Britain was harsh, full of drama and the danger of impending death. ‘If a bomb has your name on it, you are dead; if not it will miss you.’ The reader may be surprised at how close the Allies came to disaster. The book’s entertaining insights add interest and will evoke memories for people who lived in those times.

Reviews have said:

‘This book was a relatively quick read – -. James Lingard has meticulously researched and presented the timeline of events for the war, but where this book really shines as far as I am concerned is in the sharing of his own family’s experiences as they were personally impacted. – – Another enjoyable part of the book was the quotes Lingard used at the beginning of each chapter. Many of these quotes were taken from speeches by Churchill or other prominent men of the time and they add to the general picture and emotions of the period.’

‘For the reader who wants to know the facts in a nutshell then read more widely this is the book to read.’

‘History isn’t just about the events that happened, but the impact those events had on the people, on society. I feel history can never be complete unless we see it through the eyes of those it affected, which Lingard does a great job with.

‘The author has researched the subject well and comes up with interesting new facts that even the most accomplished reader of this era will not be aware of.’

‘Great book. A book I could not put down. Not only does it cover the most salient points of the war. We see war in Britain through the eyes of a young child.’

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