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Gunpowder and Glory, The Short Explosive Life of Frank Brock OBE

Gunpowder and Glory, The Short Explosive Life of Frank Brock OBE

Harry Smee and Henry MacRory
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
This is a most interesting read. The biography of Frank Brock, who was by all accounts a very talented individual who like so may others met his end during the First World War. However in his relatively short life he achieved much and contributed greatly towards the war effort finally paying the ultimate price.

Frank Brock was one of many Brocks of the Fireworks company fame, the term Brocks Benefit is out of use at present but will be familiar to some.

The book gives a fascinating history of fireworks in the UK from their inception and the founding of Brocks Fireworks in the late 1600's to the present day. This back ground is necessary to set the scene for young Frank's development as a person and his inventive side.

At the start of hostilities he enlisted into the Army, was transferred to the RNAS before finally becoming part of the RAF when it was formed. He therefore had the rare distinction of serving in all three Armed Services in WW1.

The books covers his many contributions towards the UK military, his explosive bullet for defeating Zeppelins as well as various flares and smoke screens for Naval use. One that I had not heard of was the Coloured Filtered used for attempting to spot camouflaged emplacements.

Frank saw his first and only combat during the Zeebruge Raid on 1918, a raid upon which he did not have to go and in fact was discouraged from doing so, such was his importance as an inventor. However he felt he had to go to try to discover the secrets of a German sound ranging device and although details are sketchy, it appeared he met his end in a manner that matched the rest of his life, dramatically, in a sword fight where each opponent managed to kill each other in the process.

Overall, this is an excellent book, well illustrated throughout and a good read. It flows well and has obviously been well researched.

I would suspect it would appeal to anybody with an interest in the First World War and to those who like things that go bang!
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Currently on Amazon for £14 for kindle and a £25 for hardback
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Having read of the Zeebrugge raid this expands on the life of Brock