Book recommendation Forgotten Voices- Imperial War Museum

Battle of Britain "Wings of Victory"
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Book recommendation Forgotten Voices- Imperial War Museum

Post Bader »

My wife chanced across this and goodness me, it's wonderful. It's new.
Published in time for Christmas they have taken hundreds of hours of recorded audio archives and put them into a book.

Forgotten Voices of the Blitz and the Battle for Britain.
A new history in the words of the men and the women of both sides
. ... of_Britain

It's also available as an audio book. I haven't tried that yet.

What's fascinating is that there is no interpretation, it is simply a written form of the actual words spoken by men and women in all stations of the battle. So ARP men, nurses, ambulance drivers, surgeons, sappers, soldiers, Anti Aircraft gunners and of course plenty from pilots and ground crew too.

You have fascinating passages where German pilots (of both bombers and fighters) describe exactly the same events in completely different ways, wholly disagreeing. Such is the rich fabric of human perception and I find it absolutely fascinating.

I honestly haven't been able to put it down.

A couple of interesting snippets that made me think of BoBII

Pilot Officer Roger Hall, 152 Squadron RAF

The Germans more or less put the Filton Aircraft Facrtory out of action on the 25th of September...This was the first time that I was in action and there were four of us against 80 or 90 bombers with an escort of about 20 fighters. The bombers were around 15,000 feet and we got up to them quite quickly, wheeled round and attacked. The German fighter escort didn't interfere at all. You see, they'd come from Cherbourg and didn't want to use any more fuel than they had to."

Two interesting thoughts there
1) 'little and often' (small attacking formations), as espoused by Dowding really did work. It felt bad for the RAF pilots, but had many advantages.
2) Fuel was a major issue for escort fighters. They had to pick their fights carefully.

Ernst Wedding, He111 pilot.
The Battle of Britain was a complete loss to the German air force. It was a victory for the RAF.

Hans Ekkehard BoB, Messerschmitt 109 pilot
I do not consider that Germany lost the Battle of Britain. I think in the end it was neutral, nobody won.

Flight Sergeant Jack Nissen, Engineer working on radar equipment.
We had two basic types of RDF station. We had the big Chain Home stations (around 20). They could see 180 miles to 18,000 feet. But they could not see below 3,000 feet. So we developed Chain Home Low stations. These could see down to 500 feet and out to 15 or 20 miles. So between them, we covered things nicely.

Sergeant Leslie Batt, 253 Squadron RAF.
..I eventually came out of the cloud at around 2,000 feet over Selsey Bill (Chichester), with my eyes all gummed up with engine oil. There was not a single field bigger than a postage stamp to land in, so I was in a pretty difficult situation..
"Ah yes, Michael (Parkinson)," Bader replied, "But these particular Fockers were Messerschmitts..."

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Post the_soupdragon »

Yes they are good series.
I have the BoB one and also forgotten voice of the first world war, forgotten voices of the second world war and also forgotten voices of the Holocaust.
all very good and very interesting reading.


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Re: Book recommendation Forgotten Voices- Imperial War Museu

Post Osram »

Bader wrote: Hans Ekkehard Bob, Messerschmitt 109 pilot
I do not consider that Germany lost the Battle of Britain. I think in the end it was neutral, nobody won.
I spoke to him end of last year. He is IIRC 95 now but still completely sharp and supposedly the oldest active pilot in Europe. Actually he did a world record with some other WWII pilots on the day I met him. BTW during the BoB he was responsible for the very first JABO attacks using Me109s with bombs slung under.

I also have his book. Quite a bit inside is about politics. He has his own opinion on a lot of things and does not parrot any party or anyone else. I certainly do not share all his opinions, some I do, some I understand but don't, some I don't understand.

When asked about the BoB Mr Bob indeed gives that opinion you cited, but really it is more an opinion about the war and Germany and the UK and not ONLY an opinion about the BoB. The UK before the war was the number one super power on the world. I don't know whether any British patriots still think so today, but most people around the world would name at least one of USA, Russia and China before the UK. The UK lost it's empire and lost it's technological edge in many fields. All Mr Bob says is that both Germany and the UK after the war were worse off than before, so he sees both as loosers in that respect. While I might not agree with the conclusion, it certainly is an interesting and rational thought IMHO.

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Re: Book recommendation Forgotten Voices- Imperial War Museu

Post BoxMike »

Bader wrote:My wife chanced across this and goodness me, it's wonderful. It's new.
Sounds good. No interpretations, how does anyone having not lived that day imagine the times?
I'm a bit worried about the new generation of researchers. As long as we have people from real times, we should listen to them.

Couple of year ago I met a veteran Blenheim pilot, discussed with him, I asked him how did he feel to lose wingies until he told me he survived a doomed bomber, leaving the flaming wreck and watching his navigator's chute getting stuck to the the tail going down all the way. Radioman/Gunner was silent already.

As a later generation, I really appreciate these discussions, very soon these are not possible anymore.

- box

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