Journal37 Cover

Journal37 Cover


Further references  – Journal 37  MEDICS


See below further references for some of the articles in Journal 37  “Medics”




References – Battle School Training , J.Goulty

i Author’s Interview: Pte Bill Titchmarsh (2/6th Queen’s Regiment), Royal Hospital Chelsea, 18/8/10.
ii Timothy Harrison Place, Military Training in the British Army, 1940-1944: From Dunkirk to D-Day (London: Frank Cass, 2000), p. 41.
iii IWM DS Acc. No. 31401, Interview Reel 3: Richard Phillips (Pte & NCO 2nd SWB, UK & NW Europe, 1939 -1945).
iv Frederick Myatt, The British Infantry 1660-1945: Evolution of a Fighting Force (Poole: Blanford Press, 1983), p. 211.
v Paul Bryan, Wool, War and Westminster (London: Tom Donovan, 1993), p. 54. (NB The papers of Lt. Col Sir Paul Bryan DSO, MC can be seen in the SWWEC archives Acc no. 2000-608).
vi A. R. Farrar-Hockley, Infantry Tactics 1939-1945 (New Malden: Alnmark, 1976), pp. 20, 22.
vii IWM DS Acc. No. 10165, Interview Reel 33 Martin McLane (NCO 2nd DLI, UK, France, NW Europe, India and Burma 1939-1945).
viii Myatt, The British Infantry 1660-1945, p. 211.
ix Sydney Jary, 18 Platoon (Privately published, 1994), p. 6.
x See for example, Harrison Place, Military Training in the British Army, 1940-1944, pp. 53-54, 64-65.
xi WO Code 7589, Infantry Training Pt. VIII, Fieldcraft, Battle Drill Section and Platoon Tactics, 4 March 1944, Ch. 4 The Battle Drills for the Attack, Section 21, p. 47.
xii Bryan, Wool, War and Westminster, p. 54.
xiii Denis Forman, To Reason Why (London: Andre Deutsch, 1991), p. 41. (NB Sir Denis Forman was commandant of a battle school and served as a major in 6th RWK in Italy. His papers are held by SWWEC).
xiv Forman, To Reason Why, p. 41.
xv Christopher Bulteel, Something About A Soldier (Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 2000), p. 34.
xvi Robert H. Ahrenfeldt, Psychiatry in the British Army in the Second World War (London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1958), p. 199.
xvii David French, Raising Churchill’s Army: The British Army and the War against Germany 1919-1945 (Oxford: OUP, 2000), p. 206.
xviii Ahrenfeldt, Psychiatry in the British Army in the Second World War, p. 203.
xix Forman, To Reason Why, p. 54.
xx SWWEC, Typed Transcript of Taped Interview-Tape 1383, Dr. Ian D. Campbell, April 2002, p. 4.
xxi Durham County Record Office, D/DLI 2/9/342, Account by Eric ‘Bill’ Sykes (70th DLI & Parachute Regiment, 1942-1949).
xxii Harrison Place, Military Training in the British Army, 1940-1944, p. 62.
xxiii DCRO, D/DLI 2/9/257 (1), Lessons from Ten Days’ Close Country Warfare in Sicily, Catania-Riposto by Lt. Col. J. R. Woods DSO, MC (9th DLI), 20/8/43, Conclusion: paragraph 9.
xxiv John A. English, On Infantry (New York: Praeger, 1981), p. 141.

Home Guard Bibliography

Anon, Home Guard Manual 1941 (Reprinted: Stroud, Gloucs: Tempus, 2006)
Anon, History of the Cheshire Home Guard: From L.D.V. Formation to Stand Down, 1940-1944 (Reprinted: Uckfield, East Sussex, Naval & Military Press)
Brophy, John, Britain’s Home Guard (London: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd, 1945)
Beckett, Ian F. W., Britain’s Part-Time Soldiers: The Amateur Military Tradition 1558-1945 (Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2011)
Danchev, Alex and Todman, Daniel (eds), War Diaries 1939-1945: Field Marshal Lord AlanBrooke (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2001)
Gardiner, Juliet, Wartime Britain 1939-1945 (London: Review, 2005)
Gough, Gen. Sir Hubert, Soldiering On (London: Arthur Baker Ltd, 1954)
Graves, Charles, The Home Guard of Britain (London: Hutchinson & Co. Ltd, 1943)
Green, Brig-Gen. A. F. U., The British Home Guard Pocket Book 1942 (Reprinted: London: Conway, 2009)
Hamilton, Nigel, Monty Volume 1: The Making of a General, 1887-1942 (London, Sceptre, 1989)
Horrocks, Lt-Gen. Sir Brian, A Full Life (Glasgow: Fontana Books, 1962)
Longmate, Norman, The Real Dad’s Army (Stroud, Gloucs: Amberley, 2016)
Macksey, Kenneth, Armoured Crusader: The Biography of Maj-Gen. Sir Percy ‘Hobo’ Hobart (London: Grub Street, 2004)
Mackenzie, S. P., The Home Guard: The Real Story of ‘Dad’s Army’ (Oxford: OUP, 1996)
McCann, Graham, Dad’s Army: The Story of a Classic Television Show (London: Fourth Estate, 2002)
Scott, Ronnie (ed), The Real Dad’s Army: The War Diaries of Col. Rodney Foster (London: Penguin Books, 2012)
Shaw, Frank & Joan (eds), We Remember the Home Guard (London: Ebury Press, 2012)
Shears, Gen. Phillip J., The Story of the Border Regiment 1939-1945 (London: Nisbet & Co. Ltd, 1948)
Street, A. G., From Dusk Till Dawn (Oxford: OUP, 1989)
Wintringham, Tom, New Ways of War (London: Penguin Books, 1940)

Noor  on the  £50 note

The new £50 note could become the UK’s first to feature someone from an ethnic minority, as the Bank of England begins its call for submissions from the public. Second World War heroine, Noor Inayat Khan, could be the “face” of the highest-denomination note, which will be reissued in plastic from 2020.

She was born on 1 January 1914 in a monastery just outside the Kremlin in Moscow. Her father was a Sufi preacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan, and her mother was an American, Ora Ray Baker.  Her father had travelled from his homeland of Baroda in India to the West on the instructions of his teacher, who had told him to take his message of music and peace to the world. Trained in Indian classical music, Inayat Khan picked up his veena and left for New York with his brothers. They set up a group called the Royal Musicians of Hindustan and travelled around the US giving concerts and recitals combined with Inayat Khan’s lectures on Sufism.

See more here the Life of Noor

Noor Inayat Khan
Noor Inayat Khan

INTRODUCTION – Journal 37 Medics.

The reason for this issue’s theme of Medics is twofold. Firstly, it is to honour the men and women who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and other medical services and institutions during the Second World War, and to thank those who contributed their material to the Centre’s archives.
Equally, it is a tribute to our Chairman Robert Fleming who trained as a registered nurse and clinical teacher, serving for eleven years as an airman and officer in the RAF, home and overseas including the Falklands in 1982.

We begin with a detailed description of the role of the Field Ambulance as told by Corporal Peter Walker whose unit provided medical support for the Somerset Light Infantry. Peter saw action in Normandy at Caen and Hill 112 where the casualty rates were so high his unit existed on ‘tea and cigarettes until we dropped.’ Peter also describes soldiers who suffered from battle fatigue, formerly known as shell shock, and mentions his difficulty in maintaining his faith after the events he witnessed. Major Geoffrey Wooler, pioneer of open heart surgery, generously donated a wealth of material to the Centre, including his diaries, medical log books, and a large collection of photographs. Geoffrey was interviewed by Peter Liddle in 2000. Surgeon in War, utilising Geoffrey’s interview and diary extracts, tells of his experience as a surgeon in North Africa and Italy. His recollection of the casualties at the Battle of Monte Cassino leads us to an account of a German paratrooper Gerhard ‘Gerry’ Kaeppner. Gerry was wounded during the German defence of Cassino town during a major Allied bombing raid in which the town ‘practically ceased to exist.’

Dr Harry Silman, a medic in the South-East Asian theatre of war, treated patients in the hospital camps on the Thai- Burma railroad. Medic in the Jungle details his experience of the Selarang Incident, plus the forced labour and the tropical diseases that claimed the lives of so many Far East POWs. For those who survived the railroad, their ordeals make for emotive reading. In Surviving the Railroad, Mathias ‘Fred’ Seiker reveals the physical and psychological hardships he faced as a Japanese POW, including the difficulties he faced in adjusting to civilian life thereafter. In northwest Germany, Sandbostel POW Camp (Stalag X-B), referred to as ‘Little Belsen’, was liberated in April 1945. It was the conditions in this camp that Major Hindmarsh, Chief Interpreter, believed changed General Horrocks’ attitude to the enemy prior to the surrender of Corps Ems (see Everyone’s War, issue No. 35, p. 68). Less well known in the media than Bergen-Belsen, Sandbostel deserves better recognition to remember the c.300,000 prisoners of war who passed through the camp and the untold thousands who died there. The Sandbostel Report, written by surgical specialist Major Hugh McLaren, is his personal impression of the first chaotic days of struggling to provide medical assistance for tens of thousands of POWs. The Centre holds rare images of the original camp, taken just after liberation. The touching story of a young Dutch girl and her reunion with the medics of No. 1 Field Dressing Station who saved her life, is told in Saving Mary. From the Netherlands we move to Britain’s Home Front where Joan Dillon worked as an ambulance driver in the East End during the London Blitz. To complete our cover theme, we have teenager Mike Barnett in London who was seriously injured during a bombing raid. His story is one of optimism and courage where, despite losing his leg, he achieved many of his ambitions in life. RAF100 This year is the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force which has been commemorated with many activities and events across the UK, including a Ceremony of Recognition at Britain’s first operational military air base at Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre. We pay tribute to RAF100 by celebrating the life of Wing Commander Roland ‘Bee’ Beamont with an article focusing on his experience as a Hawker Hurricane pilot during the Battle of Britain. Bee was interviewed by Peter Liddle in 2000 and his recording gives a comprehensive account of his service in which his
skill and enthusiasm in flying the Hurricane is apparent. 1,715 Hurricanes flew during the Battle of Britain, making their mark by proving to be fast, agile fighters and scoring high numbers of RAF victories. A preserved Hurricane from the Battle of Britain can be seen at Shuttleworth, Old Warden Aerodrome, Bedfordshire (


We would like to thank author and historian James Goulty for his articles on British Army Battle School Training and the Home Guard. Sociologist Bernard Ineichen has contributed an interesting and amusing piece on authors who became motorcycle despatch riders. In our next issue we will see the return of Michael Bully, war poet historian, with a new piece on poetry of the Second World War.

Amanda Herbert-Davies


Patients recovering in the splendour of Hatfield House, home of theMarquis of Salisbury, which servedas a military hospital during the war.
(Cloudsley-Thompson, A)

Journal 36  Everyone’s War – Explosives

Authors who have generously donated articles for this Explosives issue of the journal include Gillian Mawson, an author and historian. A Patriotic Evacuee tells the story of Guernsey evacuee Winifred West who was interviewed by the Centre in 2006.
Steve Hunnisett of London’s Blitzwalkers, WWII guided London walks, has provided a condensed version of his research on four men from Dulwich Hamlet Football Club. Real Heroes of Football tells of their service in the RAF and the sacrifice they made for their country.
One of our long-term volunteers, Martin Cocker, has spent years studying and giving talks on war hero and Victoria Cross recipient Arthur Aaron. Seldom Equalled: Arthur Aaron is an account of Arthur’s service in the RAFVR and his ultimate act of bravery which went beyond the bounds of duty.
The Centre’s Mossie researchers, Ian, Chris and Emma, have compiled a piece on No. 264 Squadron which includes a rare image of Dutch agent Hilda Bergsma.

Core topics

We begin with an article transcribed from the Centre’s interview of bomb disposal expert Colonel Bertram Archer, OBE, the Bravest of the Brave. We would like to give thanks to Melanie Archer, daughter of Colonel Archer, for the photographs which she kindly supplied for this article.
Immediate post-war bomb disposal work is highlighted in an article drawn from material donated by Jim Wood relating to his father’s work in No. 2 Bomb Disposal Company, London. This is illustrated with some fantastic photography depicting Corporal ‘Timber’ Woods and his team of sappers at work.
Colin Lyall’s service in the 51st Highland Infantry Division is the subject of Always a Sapper. From clearing minefields during the Allied invasion of Sicily to ‘all the dirty jobs’ in Le Havre. Colin’s highly dangerous work resulted in fatalities to his platoon and he was severely wounded while defusing a mine on a remote road in the Ardennes. He later suffered from combat stress as a result. An endnote by Colin’s wife gives credit to her husband’s devotion to duty: ‘…he was always a sapper at heart’.
Continuing the explosive theme, the tragedy of the Fauld Explosion in Staffordshire, one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history, is documented through the donations of Ken and Joyce McLeod. Both witnessed the destruction of RAF Fauld, Britain’s largest munitions dump. Ken, who worked at Fauld, survived the explosion, despite being underground. Joyce tragically lost her fifteen-year-old brotherin the disaster.
Women in munitions is the focus of an article by Dr A. Clifford, technician/engineer in a Royal Ordnance Factory near York. His article gives a rare insight into the work undertaken by women in what was a highly dangerous occupation. Dr Clifford’s donation to the Centre is a valuable contribution tothe history of women’s war effort.


Sicily is very much a focus in this issue as 2018 is the 75th anniversary of Operation Husky, the invasion of the German held
island and staging point for the Italian Campaign. We experience the sea-borne landing assault through the detailed memoir of Colonel David Fenner, 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. From his ‘last supper’ to the destruction he witnessed around the bridgehead across the Simeto River.
Operation Ladbroke, the opening air-borne invasion of Sicily, is told through the memories of a glider navigator and an American tug pilot, both of which are emotive accounts of the tragedy that befell the operation. Seventy-five gliders ditched in the sea with great loss of life, the cause of which is still in dispute today.
Continuing with events in 1943 we take a voyage with Lieutenant Charles Coles who was laying mines off the coast of Galita, Algeria, in February of that year. The sinking of his motor torpedo boat led to the loss of some of his crew and, ultimately, his capture. Charles’ article includes his experience of Marlag O POW Camp, his recall of the famous escape ruse of Albert RN, and his liberation from Lübeck POW Camp.

SWWEC Journal 35 Cover  Additional references – Journal 35 ANNIVERSARIES


See below further references for some of the articles in Journal 35  “Anniversaries”

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Bibliography (and Primary Sources) for Operation Torch article

Sources consulted and referenced in the article

Anderson, Charles R., (n.d.) Algeria-French Morocco 8 November 1942-11 November 1942(CMH Pub 72-11) [Online], Newport RI, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Available from: U.S. Army Center of Military History  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Anderson, Kenneth A. N. (Lieutenant General), [1946] Operations in North West Africa from 8th November 1942 – 13th May 1943.London Gazette [Online] issue 37779(Supplement), 5 November 1946. Available from:   [Accessed on 4th May 2017], pp.5449-5464.

Anonymous, (n.d.) The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment [Online]. Available from: [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Atkinson, Rick, (2013) An Army At Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, [Online], London UK, Hachette UK, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Budanovic, Nikola, (2016) When the Allies Attacked Oran and were Annihilated by Vichy French Soldiers [Online]. War History Online, Alexandria, Virginia [electronic resource]. Available from:    [ Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Bull, Frank; Bonnett, Chris; Adamson, Steve, (2016) More Than Just A Name, [Online], Raleigh, North Carolina,, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Chen,C. Peter, (n.d.) Operation Torch 8 Nov 1942 – 16 Nov 1942 [Online]. World War II database [electronic resource]. Available from:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Chriss, Chuck, (n.d.) November 1942: Operation Torch [Online]. LLC, Wyoming [electronic resource]. Available from:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Churchill, Winston Spencer, (1978) Memoirs of The Second World War Abridged Edition., New York, Bonanza Books.

The Churchill Project, (2016) Were “Soft Underbelly” and “Fortress Europe” Churchill Phrases? I [Online]. Hillsdale College, Michigan [electronic resource]. Available from:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Committee 34, the Armored School Staff, (1997) The Armored Division as an Assault Landing Force, [Online], Hoosick Falls, New York, Merriam Press, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Dailey, Franklyn E. Jr, (2013) Operation Torch: TF 34 Commander in USS Augusta led U.S. Forces in North Africa Invasion [Online]. Dailey International Publishers Available from:   [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

The Daimler Fighting Vehicles Project, (n.d.) Infantry Recce Corps: Part D7h- 56th Infantry Recce [Online] Available from:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Dear, Ian, (1987) On Hostile Shores -Combined Operations Pilotage Parties: World War II. The Elite, vol.11, pp.2441-2445.

Eisenhower, Dwight David, (1997) Crusade in Europe, [Online], Baltimore, Maryland., JHU Press, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Frost, John, (1986) Wings over Oudna-2 PARA Oudna 1942. The Elite, vol.8, pp.1915-1920.

Gray, (Major), (1984) CSI Battlebook 3-A Operation TORCH, [Online], Fort Leavenworth Kansas, Combat Studies Institute, Available from:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Grehan, John; Mace, Martin (2015) Operations in North Africa and the Middle East 1942-1944: El Alamein, Tunisia, Algeria and Operation Torch, [Online], Barnsley UK, Pen and Sword, Available from: Google Books UK [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Hinsley, F.H. et al., (1981) British Intelligence in the Second World War: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations vol.II, New York, Cambridge University Press.

Howe, George F., (1957) United States Army in WWII – the Mediterranean – Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West, [Online], La Fayette, CO, HyperWar Foundation, Available from:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Isby, David, (2005) C-47/R4D Units of the ETO and MTO Osprey Combat Aircraft :54, Oxford, Osprey Publishing.

Lucas, James, (1985) Duel in The Desert-The 15th Panzer Division Afrika Korps, North Africa 1941.The Elite, vol.1, pp.121-127.

Melton, George E., (1998) Darlan: Admiral and Statesman of France, 1881-1942, [Online], Westport Connecticut, Praeger, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Morison, Samuel Eliot, (2001) History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: Operations in North African Waters October 1942-June 1943, [Online], Champaign IL, University of Illinois Press, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Niehorster, Leo, (2004) World War II Armed Forces — Orders of Battle and Organizations -Campaign for North Africa Allied Order of Battle Operation Torch 8 November 1942-36 Infantry Brigade [Online]. Available from:   [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

O’Hara,Vincent , (2015) Torch: North Africa and the Allied Path to Victory,[Online], Annapolis Maryland, Naval Institute Press, Available from : Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

ParaData, (2017) North Africa (Operation Torch) 11 November 1942 – 31 May 1943 [Online]. Airborne Assault Museum, Duxford [electronic resource]. Available from:   [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

ParaData, (2017) OUDNA [Online]. Airborne Assault Museum, Duxford [electronic resource]. Available from:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Patch, John, (2008) FORTUITOUS ENDEAVOR Intelligence and Deception in Operation TORCH, [Online], Newport RI, Naval War College, Available from: Defense Technical Information Center  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

‘Ronald, Major Alexander Scott ‘ (1942) Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Details [military record]. Available from:,%20ALEXANDER%20SCOTT   [Accessed on 4th May 2017].

Roskill, S.W., (n.d.) History of the Second World War-The War at Sea 1939-45-II: The Period of Balance, [Online], La Fayette, CO, HyperWar Foundation, Available From:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Shores, Christopher; Massimello, Giovanni, (2016) A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940-1945: Volume 3: Tunisia and the End in Africa, November 1942-1943, [Online], Annapolis Maryland, Grub Street Publishing, Available from: Google Books UK [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Stevens, (Major-General) W.G., (1962) The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–1945, [Online], Wellington, NZ, New Zealand Electronic Text Collection, Available from:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Turnbull, Patrick, (1986) Moroccan Spearhead-Moroccan Goums: Italy 1943-44. The Elite, vol.7, pp.1568-1573.

Vaughan, Hal, (2006) FDR’s 12 Apostles: The Spies Who Paved the Way for the Invasion of North Africa, [Online], Lanham Maryland, Rowman & Littlefield, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Watson, Bruce Allen, (2006) Exit Rommel: The Tunisian Campaign, 1942–43, [Online], Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Stackpole Military History, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Whiting, Charles, (2003) Disaster at Kasserine: Ike and the 1st (US) Army in North Africa 1943, [Online], Barnsley UK, Pen and Sword, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Wikipedia (2017) French Expeditionary Corps (1943–44), 01:52, 17 January 2017‎ ‎[Online].
Available from:  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Wikipedia (2015) Groupe de Chasse I/3, 00:47, 14 October 2015‎ [Online]. Available from: Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Williams, Mary H., (1999) Special Studies, Chronology, 1941-1945, [Online], Washington D.C., Government Printing Office, Available from: Google Books UK  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Primary Sources

Hansard Report of proceedings of both the House of Commons
HC Deb. (1942-11-11) 385, col.29.

Leahy, William D. ‘Memorandum for The President: Subject; Commander for TORCH, 6 Aug. 1942’    [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Further references for  Desert War Poetry (Michael ‘Bully’ Shankland)


Desmond Graham, Keith Douglas 1920-1944: A Biography (Oxford University Press, 1974).
Vernon Scannell, Collected Poems 1950- 1993 (Robson, 1993).
Vernon Scannell, Of Love & War, New and Selected Poems (Robson Books 2002).
James Andrew Taylor, Walking Wounded – The Life & Poetry of Vernon Scannell (Oxford University Press, 2013).


David Goldie & Roderick Watson, eds., The Line Scottish War Poetry 1914-1945 (The Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2014).
Charles Hamblett, ed., I Burn for England – An Anthology of the Poetry of World War II (Leslie Frewin, 1966).
Victor Selwyn, ed., Return to Oasis – War Poems & Recollection from the Middle East 1940 – 1946 (Shepheard-Walwyn, 1980).


Thank you to the literary estate of Vernon Scannell for kind permission to use his work so extensively. The holder of the rights to the work of J. Nugent have been impossible to trace. If it emerges that their poetry is in copyright, it is hoped that whoever holds the rights understands that no deliberate violation of copyright has been intended, and that the reproduction of these poems is on a non-commercial basis.



See online the introduction to the latest Journal, Issue 34 ” Commando ”

The formation of the Independent Companies and their involvement in many significant events of World War 2


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Professor JOHN GOOCH

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Venue RAF Club 2016 Lectures

Professor DAVID DILKS ‘Churchill and the Russians 1939 – 1955’

Was Presented on Tuesday 18th October 2016 – Sincere thanks of The Centre to Professor Dilks, all attendees and the RAF club

David Dilks was Professor of International History at the University of Leeds for more than 20 years before becoming Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull. As a young man he worked for Sir Anthony Eden, Marshal of the R.A.F. Lord Tedder, Mr. Harold Macmillan, Sir Alexander Cadogan, Mr. R. A. Butler and others who knew Churchill intimately. A supporter of the Second World War Experience Centre from its early days, Professor Dilks has written biographies of Lord Curzon and Neville Chamberlain. His book “The Great Dominion”: Winston Churchill in Canada 1900-1954 appeared in 2005, and a volume of essays Churchill and Company in 2013. A study of Britain’s wartime relations with Russia and British reactions to the Katyn massacre is due to appear in 2017.

The lecture was illustrated by recently-discovered recordings from Churchill’s visits to Canada in 1952 and 1954.

Professor JOHN GOOCH  ‘Mussolini’s War’

Was Presented on Tuesday 20th September 2016 – Sincere thanks of The Centre to Professor Gooch,  all attendees and the RAF Club

Professor John Gooch is Emeritus Professor of International History at the University of Leeds. Educated at King’s College University of London, he has taught at the universities of Lancaster and Leeds, and at Yale University. In 1985-6 he was the first Secretary of the Navy Senior Research Fellow at the United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He is the Founding Chairman of the Army Records Society and the Founding Editor of the Journal of Strategic Studies. He has written extensively on nineteenth and twentieth century British and European military history. His most recent book, ‘The Italian Army and the First World War was published in 2014 and he is currently working on a history of Italy’s War 1940-1943. In 2010 he was created Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta‘ Italiana for services to Italian military history.

One man, and one man alone,’ Winston Churchill declared, was responsible for plunging Italy into war in June 1940. That man – Benito Mussolini – has been depicted as either a bluffer or a buffoon. Using the results of many years of research in the Italian archives, Professor Gooch explored some of the fundamental questions raised by Churchill’s pronouncement: what motivated Mussolini to declare war, how he ran his war, and how far blame for what happened rests solely on his shoulders.


The Centre is very pleased to have presented the Lectures at The Royal Air Force Club, a stunning building which offers luxurious and peaceful surroundings to serving and former serving officers of the RAF and Allied Air Forces.


Having opened its doors in 1922, the Club’s interior has been enhanced to its present high standard. With striking paintings, a specially designed stained glass window and the very unique badge corridor, a truly fascinating history comes alive about the story of the Royal Air Force.

Please take a look at the Journal Archive pages,
Everyones War Cover 32
Issues 17 to 33 are all available to download as PDF, read on your computer or tablet, iPad etc.

If you would prefer the print version, whilst some are now sold out we do have copies which can be purchased through the website too. A wide range of topics mostly supported by material in the Centre Archive.

For more Women in uniform material ,

Women’s Auxiliary Air Force

see our item on WAAF records at the Centre

Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC

The Centre was saddened to hear the news that wartime Fleet Air Arm pilot and later RN Chief Test Pilot Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown died  on the 21st February 2016

Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC

Sub Lt. Brown, in the cockpit of a Wildcat aboard HMS Audacity 1941

Eric had a distinguished career in war and in peacetime as a naval pilot, and made a superb recording for the Centre in 2007 in which he related his wartime experiences. He survived the sinking of his first operational posting on HMS Audacity in 1941, going on to become a ‘trials pilot’ testing new aircraft types at the Services Trials Unit, and later at Farnborough in the Aerodynamics Flight, High Speed Flight, and Jet Flight.

As the war ended he was sent to Germany as head of the Enemy Aircraft Flight tasked to find German advanced aircraft and technicians. On arrival at Fassberg, near Hanover he found German jet aircraft which he described as ‘.. very advanced. I would put them at a year to a year and a half ahead of us’.

Eric’s command of the German language was also used by the Allies at the end of the war in the interrogation of Belsen Concentration camp commanders Josef Kramer and Irma Grese, and following the capture of Heinrich Himmler.

Our condolences go to his family and friends.