Although the title says ‘written at the time’, this is not a collection of personal memoirs or diaries. Nor is it the recollections of ordinary people or those on the front line of action.
It looks like the interior of a spaceship. But the shimmering framework is that of a B-17F, under construction at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant in Long Beach, California, in 1942.
Driven by desperation in the waning months of the Second World War – and motivated by a martial code, bushido, that glorified self-sacrifice and brooked no surrender – around 4,000 Japanese aircrew conducted suicide attacks against US and Allied warships in a vain attempt to halt the onslaught against Japan.
During the Second World War, Duxford was both an RAF and a United States Army Air Force station, playing an important role in the Battle of Britain. Many of its original structures remain intact and are themselves listed.
Yet, from the outset, this is a history with a difference. Set in the aftermath of D-Day, it concerns SABU-70, a 12-man SAS raiding party.
Holland has written a series of nine excellent campaign histories over the last few years, looking at fighting World War II in a new light.
Although the machines were once produced in high quantities, they are today extremely rare, with only a few surviving intact in German museums.
Penned by former RAF Navigator and Gulf War veteran John Nichol, Lancaster is one of the most enthralling aviation history books I have read. But its succinct title does not do it justice. Its pages narrate not only the history of the legendary bomber but also of those who flew her.
Closed for four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum lost as much as 95% of its income, which is heavily reliant on visitors. Before the donation, it was estimated to end the year with a deficit of £2m, putting many jobs at risk.
In Crucible of Hell, David once again demonstrates his commanding power to hold the reader’s attention.