Blackpool has staged a spectacular tribute to mark the 80th anniversary of Battle of Britain Day. Due to COVID-19...
Books to mark Battle of Britain Day
Throughout the long, hot summer of 1940, thousands of aircraft from the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe fought a long and deadly battle for control of Britain’s skies and, ultimately, of Britain itself. Lasting from 10 July to 31 October, the 15 September marked a turning point in the battle and is now commemorated as Battle of Britain Day.
A selection of new titles from The History Press, described below, provide a classic account of the battle itself, a thorough examination of Hugh Dowding’s tactics as Air Officer in charge of Fighter Command, and a selection of personal accounts of service in the Second World War.
By Roy Conyers Nesbit
New edition, £20, paperback
The greatest air battle in history was fought in the skies over southern England between the RAF and the Luftwaffe in the high summer of 1940. Riding high on the success of their Blitzkrieg campaign that had steamrollered France and the Low Countries into defeat, by June 1940 the Nazi forces were poised on the Channel coast ready to invade England. In their way stood the heavily outnumbered squadrons of the RAF, which they believed would quickly fall when confronted with the might of Goering’s Luftwaffe. They could not have been more mistaken. In the desperate air battles that followed, played out against the piercing blue skies of one of the hottest British summers on record, ‘The Few’ of the RAF succeeded in defeating a numerically superior Luftwaffe, thereby preventing the invasion of England by German forces.
By Peter Brown AFC
New edition, £12.99, paperback
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Air Chief Marshall Dowding was Commander-in-Chief of RAF Fighter Command, which had been set up three years earlier to protect Britain against attacks from the air and the threat of invasion. London was subjected to extensive night bombing for several months. However, our fighter squadrons and defence systems enabled us to maintain mastery of the air. The Battle of Britain ended in 1940 and our island was never again under the threat of invasion. Peter Brown, former Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot, presents a vivid account of Britain under the threat of invasion, reminding us of the bravery of our fighter pilots and the courage of the people of Britain, who endured the hardships of war and terror bombing from the air. Through personal experience and years of meticulous research, Peter offers a careful analysis of the battle and the tactics involved, vigorously defending Dowding’s command and exposing the conspiracy of senior officers that saw him removed from office without due recognition for his achievement.
By Gary Bridson-Daley
New edition, £12.99, paperback
The Second World War is famed for being the conflict that changed the face of warfare, and it is the last that changed the face of the world. In addition to remembering those who passed away in those dark days of war, a sincere debt of gratitude is owed to all those now in their twilight years who gave all that they had for King and Country. In this new and revised second edition, Gary Bridson-Daley presents 43 of the more than 100 interviews he has conducted with veterans over recent years, adding to the history books the words and the original poetry of those who fought and supported the war effort to ensure freedom, peace and prosperity for generations to come. From each corner of the British Isles and every armed service, from Dam Buster George ‘Johnny’ Johnson through to riveter Susan Jones: heroes all.
By Caroline Young
New title, £18.99, paperback
When war was declared in September 1939, young people around the world were expected to put on a uniform and fight in a conflict not of their making. They may have been dressed in regulation khaki or Air Force blue, or restricted by rationing, but driven by angst, patriotism and survival, they took every opportunity to express themselves by adapting their clothing. Away from the war their lives were shaped by swing music and its fashions, allowing individualism to flourish despite repression and offering a rebellious reaction to the fearful sound of jackboots marching in unison. It was a time of new identities, factions and hierarchies. From the British Tommies and the American GIs, to the ‘glamour boys’ of the RAF, the ‘Spitfire girls’ of the ATA and members of the French Resistance, Kitted Out offers a fresh take on the history of the Second World War through the lens of fashion. The poignant and inspiring stories behind the uniforms, styles and self-expression of Britain, the USA, North Africa and occupied Europe will be painfully resonant to a new generation of young people.
For ordering information and to find out more about the huge range of related titles offered by The History Press, call 01242 895310 or visit its website
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