Posts Tagged ‘military’

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


New Review

March 2, 2015

Laurence Stephenson reviewed BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 what was life like during the war?

‘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. I found the fathers philosophical view of death very refreshing. Mr James Lingard thank you.

Even though I am in Australia and was born after the war, in my early years at school I remember the teacher telling us how people in England were having trouble procuring enough food due to rationing, and being asked to donate money to send food parcels to England.

Thanks for a good read.’

New website

January 18, 2015

My World War 2 website is now live at
BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 what was life like during the war? has been re-launched in view of excellent reviews from UCL People (University College London) (March 2009) and The Historical Association – a British charity for teachers and other academics.
It gives a short 33,000 word insight into the horrors of the Home Front with an overview of the major campaigns in World War 2, enlivened by personal experiences and quotations from Churchill. Available as an e-book or paperback, it was written to make the history available to the public in a readable and interesting form.

In a recent 5star review, Bev Walkling writes:
‘I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I confess that I am fascinated by the Second World War, in part because my father and various uncles served as members of the Canadian forces and their experiences impacted me as I was growing up. As such, this book was of great fascination to me.

This book was a relatively quick read that would be of interest to those who might not have much background in the events of the war or those who know the broad details but want the day to day understanding of how lives were affected by things like bombing raids. 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. Though only a young boy when the war began, his life was affected in multiple ways and his family was at one point thought killed as their air raid shelter was destroyed. In actual fact they had gone out to the woods for an outing, which ultimately saved their lives!

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.

I would recommend this book to individuals ranging from young adults through to seniors and on Goodreads to those in the History Book Club and the World War 2 Group.

Tags:Battle of Britain, Churchill, D-day, history, home front, military, world war 2

For history, military, world war try

December 25, 2014

For history, military, world war try

Lingard’s Britain at War 1939 to 1945 gives a short insight into the war enlivened by personal experiences and quotes from Churchills speeches.

This short (148 pages) history of World War 2 is written from the standpoint of people directly involved. What was life like in the Home Front during such a war? The book aims to bring the period alive for the reader by providing a fascinating insight into the harsh realities of life in Britain – life full of drama and the danger of impending death. ‘If a bomb has your name on it, you are dead; in not, it will miss you.’ However, facts and figures are historically accurate rather than the propaganda then fed to the public.

The reader may be surprised at how close the Allies came to disaster. Was Churchill right to persist with the Italian campaign rather than expedite landings in the south of France? The book comments on the strategy of Churchill Eisenhower and Hitler.

Written by a leading lawyer with a lifelong interest in history, BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945:

  • *Provides a concise, readable but comprehensive overview of the war including the Battle of Britain, D Day the war at sea and Hitler’s adventures and defeat in Russia.
  • *Brings together personal reflections – interwoven with quotations from Churchill’s speeches – with the historical and political context of the military build up including the USA declaring war.
  • *By slightly dramatizing some personal experiences (based on actual events), adds human interest.
  • *How can a family with a small child caught up in such a war survive?The book is ideal for all who want to know about the war but lack the time to study more weighty tomes. Its entertaining insights will add interest to educational courses and will evoke memories for people who lived in those times.

D Day

June 4, 2014


‘In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.’

The Allies had long agreed that the invasion of Northern France must have priority over all else – other operations in the Mediterranean were all secondary. The Russians, of course, regarded the defence of their country as paramount, but Stalin offered to time his next offensive to assist the invasion – in fact attacking in strength on the 23rd June 1944. The Americans also gave priority to the landing over their operations against the Japanese in the Pacific. By D-Day, 1.5 million US troops were stationed in Britain; troops who ridiculed British deference to concepts of class and the old school tie.
As a preliminary to D-Day, 6th June 1944, the French railway system suffered heavy bombing to disrupt German communications and reinforcements. Meanwhile, elaborate planning struggled to work out how best to transport 150,000 men and 20,000 vehicles to France in the first two days and how to convince the enemy that the attack would be directly across the Straits of Dover. This subterfuge, involving erecting dummy tanks guns and vehicles in the Kent countryside, was brilliantly successful and resulted in Panzer divisions being held back from the actual landings.
The invasion force comprised thirty five divisions carried in 4,000 ships supported by 11,000 aircraft of which 8,000 would go into action. In the early hours of D-Day, three airborne divisions landed behind the invasion beaches. They had mixed success: some of the gliders being blown off course; some landing too close to enemy strong points.
As dawn broke, the huge invasion fleet began its attack. German torpedo boats sank a Norwegian destroyer. An expected attack by U-boats was beaten off by aircraft which sank six of them.
The day yielded thousands of heroic actions. As an illustration, I tell that of Maurice Bennet, a civilian who had joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on the outbreak of war, and three times set out in capital ships to escort convoys to Malta. All three times, his ships had been disabled by torpedoes or bombs and with difficulty limped back to Gibraltar. When the North Africa campaign drew to a close, he had volunteered to command a tank landing craft, and successfully participated in the landings at Salerno before being ordered back to the UK in order to participate in the D-Day landings.
He and another officer volunteered for special duties. Could any such duty be more dangerous than driving a cumbersome landing craft on to a heavily defended beach? Well – yes.
Maurice was to command a landing craft modified to contain one tank and three guns – all with their barrels in fixed positions to fire straight ahead at a target one thousand yards away. He had orders to search out a shore battery; aim the guns by stearing straight at it, then fire at 1,000 yards.
D-Day dawned and Maurice and his sister craft went in at full speed ahead – such as their craft could manage – well ahead of the invasion fleet. The beach had been heavily bombed, but it seemed as though they were alone against the might of an invisible German army.
A mile out and no target identified. Suddenly, a loud explosion to port. A quick glance – the sister ship had received a direct hit and exploded into pieces. Zigzag. Just in time. Another battery closer to Maurice fired at him. This is it. He headed directly for it. Hold on – 1100 yards. Wait for it – fire.
Maurice and the battery fired more or less simutaeously. They missed; he did not. The shell from the tank hit the concrete bunker, but made precious little impression on it. The shells from the three guns exploded – – and produced red smoke. Red smoke, Maurice swore as he turned away from the beach to try another attack.
Suddenly, a tremendous explosion. The battery had gone – not only the battery but the low cliff on which it stood had collapsed into the sea.
Time to take on the second battery which had sunk his sister craft. Maurice had to cover half a mile before he was in range. Random zigzags and a lot of prayer. They fired but he made it. Once again red smoke; once again a huge explosion and the battery had half gone.
He received a signal: ‘Leave immediate’. No need to be told twice. He turned back out to sea – a sea now covered with scores of ships. As he did so, he saw the flash of heavy guns – a Rodney class battleship firing another broadside at the remains of the battery.
Could there be any survivors from the sister craft? Another signal: ‘Get out of the *** way.’ Dozens of landing craft were powering directly at him on their way to the beach and glory. He made it back – several of the others did not.

* * *

Generally, the Allies achieved complete tactical surprise, but on Omaha beach, the Americans ran into a full German division on the alert and had great difficulty in achieving a landing at all. Elsewhere, resistance proved to be lighter than expected – smashed into submission by the naval bombardment and the heavy bombing which effectively destroyed the German radar.
By nightfall on D-Day, 150,000 Allied troops had landed at a cost of approximately 10,000 killed. The Allies hoped to reach Caen, a few miles inland, but this was prevented by a force of fifty Panzers.
Inevitably, the early days after landing had times of chaos and improvisation. An infantry Colonel told me how his regiment rapidly fought their way out of the landing zone and into the Normandy countryside. Three days later, they had achieved their immediate objectives but had had no sleep and precious little food. No Germans in sight. He called a halt, requisitioned a convenient farm house as temporary headquarters, put his men into defensive positions and posted sentries.
He instructed his sergeant major that they were all exhausted and would fight better after a few hours rest, but he was to be called if any German troops were sighted. With which he threw himself on top of a bed. Too hot; he took his uniform off, but adhered to standing orders and left his loaded revolver, safety catch on, tied to his wrist with a lanyard.
The next thing he remembered was that the sergeant major burst into the room, shook him roughly by the shoulder, yelled: ‘Quick, sir. The Germans are surrounding the house.’ flung open the window and jumped out.
Had he dreamed it? He heard a voice shout in German. Hell. No time to get dressed. He flung himself through the open window and landed on his feet, just as two German soldiers came round the corner. They stared at the near naked man in astonishment. He fled for the further corner of the building, but as he ran jerked the revolver into his hand.
He heard a shouted challenge and in reply fired two rapid shots, hitting one of the soldiers in the arm. They returned fire but he was round the corner. A burst of fire from the sergeant major’s tommy gun and both Germans were dead. A quick dash to the nearest hedge, and there were a Company of his regiment lying in ambush. The Germans withdrew as rapidly as they had arrived.

This is Chapter 15 of BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? by James Lingard which is available in paperback (ISBN 9781434359339) through local bookshops or on-line; or from AuthorHouse or Kindle as an e-book (ISBN 9781434359346).

BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 what was life like during the war? (ISBN 9781434359339) and (ISBN 9781434359346)

January 26, 2014

BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 what was life like during the war? (ISBN 9781434359339) and (ISBN 9781434359346)

A history of the home front in Britain and of the salient campaigns in World War 2 which received excellent reviews from The Historical Association and from UCL People (University College London).

BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war?

January 26, 2014

BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war?

A history of the home front in Britain and of the salient campaigns in World War 2 which received excellent reviews from The Historical Association and from UCL People (University College London).

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January 23, 2014

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January 23, 2014

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Book Cover

Review by Tony Parsons of Britain at War 1939 to 1945

January 7, 2014

A new five star review of Britain at War 1939 to 1945 has been added.
The book has received excellent reviews including:-

The Historical Association – a charity which supports teachers in primary and secondary education but also academics at all levels – ‘Members will be interested in BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? which brings alive the harsh realities of life in Britain during the war – life full of uncertainty and the danger of impending death. It also provides ‘a concise history of the salient campaigns in World War 2 ideal for anyone who lacks the time or inclination to study the larger works.’

UCL People (University College London) (March 2009) ‘A memoir of boyhood in Britain during World War II, this short but powerful book brings together personal reflections with the historical and political context. The author’s memories are interwoven with quotations from Churchill’s speeches and overviews of the major campaigns. ‘Britain at War’ is written from the standpoint of people directly involved, and all personal experiences are based on actual events.’

5.0 out of 5 stars WWII England, 24 Jan 2010
Mr. M. W. Wabe (UK) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Britain at War 1939 to 1945: What was life like during the war? (Paperback)
This is a factual but interesting book of the lives of people who lived through WWII. It gives the stories of peoples lives, interspersed with the great speeches of such great men as Winston Churchill. It is enjoyable as a read in itself, but even more so for the memories it evokes for those who lived in those times. It provides a valuable insight into those times for us who were born in the 1950s, and onwards and without such a book, it is impossible for us to understand what life was like then. Death was almost always imminent from the bombing, food was short, hunger was not unusual, but a sort of national spirit emerged that is no longer present today.

5.0 out of 5 stars Britain at War 1939 to 1945, December 5, 2013
Tony R. Parsons “tony parsons” (emporia KS) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Britain at War 1939 to 1945: What was life like during the war? (Paperback)
A glimpses of WWII (Battle of Britain) & the horrors Britain had to endure during WWII. Also how it affected lots of other nations worldwide; human lives, mental/medical, financial (cost of war), unemployment, poverty, politics/reasons why the war, personal individual/family perspectives…an endless list. In 2007, Britain had paid off their debt to the US from WWII.

True/not account of the war awesome story content, great summary of events, a few key characters; Churchill, General Eisenhower, President Roosevelt, General De Gaulle, Rommel, Hitler, General Alexander, General Montgomery, Kesselring, General Stilwell… (use 1st names also), & always stuff I did not know.

My father I’m quite sure suffered from PTSD, the horrors of the Army coming/taking apart the concentration camps. He was not a pleasant man to live with. My biological mother he met in England left when I was 4, I never knew her/family. 1 uncle Navy, 1 uncle A/F, my son A/F.

I am retired Army, a history buff, as well as my emphasis is on wars. This short story deserves 5 stars.

Thank you for the free book (short story)
Tony Parsons MSW

To read extracts from the book go to or to Goodreads at or

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