ARmy Rumour SErvice

Review:  Commando Despatch Rider by Raymond Mitchell

When war was declared in September 1939, Raymond Mitchell was two months short of his nineteenth birthday and determined to get into action. However, the death of his brother (an RAF Sergeant Pilot) some two weeks later, resulted in him delaying joining up until February 1940 in deference to his parents feelings. Defective colour vision and his age resulted in his rejection by the RAF, Coldstream Guards and Royal Engineers. However, on hearing that the Royal Marines were recruiting younger men and following a successful application, he started his training in August 1940. His determination and persistence had paid off! Read more ›


Review: If England Were Invaded by William Le Queux

This book is a reprint of the novel ‘The Invasion of 1910’ by William Le Queux. Think of Le Queux as a prototypical Tom Clancey and you have the gist of the novel. It covers in considerable detail a hypothetical Germen incursion into England. The novel was a sensation at the time, first being serialised in the Daily Express. Le Queux deliberately set battles in towns with a high Daily Mail readership to maximise the impact. When the book itself was published, it shifted a million copies – making a tidy sum for its author. Read more ›


Review: The Return by Michael Gruber

As far as book concepts go, The Return is pretty simple. Richard Marder is a sixty – something book editor who has acquired a degree of wealth over the years, and, upon being diagnosed with a terminal condition, decides to up sticks and head to Mexico – the land of his long dead wife. He purchases – unseen – an empty mansion with a large tract of land and heads down to start his new life. Uninvited, his long time friend and fellow Vietnam veteran Patrick Skelly tags along, despite having no idea what prompted this sudden and uncharacteristic change in lifestyle direction. Read more ›


Review: The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen

Ok, not the one with Burt Lancaster and Lee Marvin, nor the one with Body and Doyle and the very fetching cardigans.

These professionals are somewhat different.Four friends, one a woman, caught up in the dismal job market.These are intelligent and able young graduates, trying herd to earn a living but finding that academic qualifications are not a great help.During a somewhat jokey conversation the subject of kidnapping arises,and to their surprise, they realise that it could work. Don’t get greedy, choose the subject well and be quick and professional about it. Read more ›


Review: The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan – 70th Anniversary Edition

Many of you will have read The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan in the 55 years since its first publication, indeed many, like myself, will have read it several times and it will be a well-thumbed, well loved book on your milhist bookshelf.  To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, the publishers have produced a magnificent reprint of the book, in coffee book size, weighing in at about 3 kilos so not something to carry about with you.  Read more ›


Review: Mrs Thatcher’s Gamble and the Corps of The Royal Marines by David J Kenney

(South Georgia Island April 1982)

 My apologies to AY for the extremely late review of this book. I had been very reluctant to pick it up and do the business after reviewing another of the authors’ books on the FI, which is here:  http://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/review-2-paras-battle-for-darwin-hill-and-goose-green-by-david-j-kenney.214066/, read it and you may understand why.

I have to say this book surprised me by being much easier to read, although it’s written in a similar style to the one on 2 Para and the FI. It is however easier to read as there is not much in it. Again the start is mired in the ancient history of the islands, although this time there’s no reiteration of the USA’s involvement in it. Read more ›


Review: War Medic Hero by M Naya

This book, written by his brother Michael, simply describes the life of Sergeant Pierre Naya. I say simply, but that is far from the reality. Pierre was born in Tanzania, and with a family descended from the Seychelles. The book describes his early life in Tanzania, until expulsion, and his life in the UK and abroad during his subsequent service in the Royal Army Medical Corps. It has wonderful and fond memories of fishing and hunting, as well as family life and a love of music. Michael has used everyday language which clearly conveys the pride he feels for his brother. He certainly paints a picture of a family life that was pleasant and fulfilling.

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Review: A Broken World by Sebastian Faulks

The anniversary of the Great War sees a rash of just in time publications of contemporary letters and quotations. The first question is does this book adds  to the canon of First World War literature and secondly , if so, to whom is it aimed?

 Sebastian Faulks has co-edited this work with Hope Wolfe of Girton College. She based her PhD centred on 1960s responses to First World War memories and has now returned to the subject. The book avoids the chronological format of Forgotten Voices of the Great War (Arthur),rather the book is laid out by place rather than chronologically.

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Review: Capital Ships At War 1939-1945 by John Grehan and Martin Mace.

Capital Ships At War 1939-1945.  Is a fascinating insight into some of the most famous battles fought by the Royal Navy in the Second World War, alongside some of those that are less prominent. The first thing that I feel it necessary to mention, is that the book is not a narrative account of these battles as such. It is a collection of the despatches written by senior Officers about the actions. In this it gives a lucid and factual insight into the thought processes and battle plans of those Officers, providing a unique perspective of these combats probably not revealed to all save the most dedicated of Naval scholars.

 

The book is divided into six chapters each detailing a different action. These are , The Battle of the River Plate, the sinking of the Bismarck, the loss of HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse, the X-Craft attack on the Tirpitz, the sinking of the Scharnhorst, and lastly an account of the British Pacific Fleets contribution to the landing on Okinawa. All I can say is that each account is loaded with detail of thousands of aspects of Naval warfare from this time, logistics, dispositions, ammunition usage, tactics, strategy, Commanders intentions, and lastly after action reports.

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Review: Operation Mayhem by Steve Heaney MC with Damien Lewis

This is a first-hand account of the Pathfinders’ actions in Sierra Leone as part of the UK’s operations there in 1999.  Steve Heaney was the Pathfinder Platoon Sergeant at the time and gives a dramatic and eye-opening account of the battle the Pathfinders fought to stop the RUF taking the village of Lungi Lol.  This book came close to getting me into trouble; my wife had to remind me more than once to put the book down and answer the questions that my children were asking me.  Also, it caused me to miss two World Cup quarter finals; in short, I found it really hard to put down. Read more ›


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