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May 2012 - Issue 61

Features

DRAWING THE FEW
In the summer of 1940, at the height of the Battle of Britain, the artist Cuthbert Orde was asked to complete the portraits of some of the men of Fighter Command. Taking around two hours per picture, Orde drew men whose names have become synonymous with the arial combats that year.

AN EAST AFRICAN VICTORIA CROSS
In a small cemetery inland from the Kenyan port of Mombasa stands a headstone engraved with a Victoria Cross. Kevin Patience relates the story of a little-known campaign of the First World War and its forgotten hero.

OSCAR THE FLYING PIG
As part of its duties, 624 (Special Duties) Squadron was tasked to drop agents and supplies to the Resistance. Its work was highly secret, and, as Colin Pateman explains, its mascot was undoubtedly special, proving that pigs really can fly.

‘BERYL’ OF THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
Dean Sumner reveals how a fireman tackling the blaze of a crashed Spitfire in September 1940 found part of a scorched identity card belonging to the pilot, Flying Officer John Boyle, bearing his signature and photograph.

“JUST A FEW DAYS”
On 16 June 2006, the elite British Pathfinder Platoon arrived in the town of Musa Qal’eh in Helmand Province. They were told that their stay would be a short one and that they would be relieved in ninety-six hours. As Dave Cassan reveals, things did not go according to plan.

GOING FOR BROKE
By the latter half of the First World War the German surface fleet was limited to hit and run raids across the Channel and in response British destroyers were deployed to guard the Dover Strait. One night in April 1917 the opposing forces met. The British ships were outnumbered, but the German ships were outfought.

ERITREAN EAGLE
The Second World War was truly a global conflict and Britain’s forces served in almost every theatre. As Andrew Thomas describes, one such man was Flying Officer “Olly” Green who flew aging Gloster Gladiators in the depths of east Africa.

PIRATE ATTACK
During 1941, lone German bombers were ordered to carry out what was known as Pirateneinsätze, or, literally, Pirate Attacks. Chris Goss examines one such mission against Totton in 1941.

THE DEVONSHIRES’ LAST STAND
n May 1918, the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment was sent to the Bois des Buttes north of the River Aisne with orders to defend it to the last. The men soon found themselves surrounded by overwhelming numbers of enemy infantry but, writes Paul Kendall, they fought on until almost the last man.

“A CLINICAL, CONSTRAINED USE OF FORCE”
In the early hours of 15 May 1982, three Sea King helicopters sped across the cold waters of the South Atlantic. They were carrying forty-two men of 22 SAS Regiment and six other specialists; their objective was the Argentine airbase on Pebble Island.

Regulars

BRIEFING ROOM
News, Restorations, Discoveries and Events from around the UK.

NEWS FEATURE
To mark the launch of a new publication supporting the Bomber Command Memorial Fund, veterans gathered for a photoshoot at RAF Hendon.

NEWS FEATURE
Royal Navy and Army bomb disposal experts have successfully recovered the remnants of a German V-2 rocket that have remained lodged in an Essex riverbed since the Second World War.

NEWS FEATURE
A total of 131 members of the UK’s armed forces received honours and awards in the Operational Honours List that was announced on 23 March 2012.

FIELDPOST
Your letters.

WEIRD AND WONDERFUL WINGS
During the expansion period of the RAF leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War the Air Ministry issued specification F.11/37. One of the resulting designs was the Boulton Paul P.92.

IMAGE OF WAR
20 January 1944: The sinking of the German blockade runner Münsterland.

TANK TIMES
The latest issue of Tank Times from The Tank Museum at Bovington.

CAMERA AT WAR
A Battle of Britain casualty: Chris Goss presents a series of images relating to the events of 8 August 1940, and the attack on a lone Junkers Ju 88.

DATES THAT SHAPED THE WAR
Seventy years on, we chart some of the key moments and events that affected the United Kingdom in May 1942.

RECONNAISSANCE REPORT
A look at some of the new publications and products that are available

WHAT I WOULD SAVE IN A FIRE
At Imperial War Museum North, Odile Masia, Exhibitions Coordinator, has chosen to save from a fi ctional fi re an item that goes right back to the start of the First World War and modern military history: a child’s letter pleading that her pony would not become a War Horse.

GIBRALTAR’S SECRET STAY BEHIND SPIES
If Britain’s great fortress-port of Gibraltar was evacuated, they alone would remain. Sealed in a self-contained hideout beneath the southern end of the spine of the Rock, the small team would be expected to observe the enemy’s movements from their concealed lookouts and transmit the intelligence back to the UK. Though the existence of such a hidden chamber had been suspected, its location remained a mystery until a chance discovery at last exposed the wartime “Stay Behind Cave”.


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