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My latest read, Battalion by Alistair Borthwick

I have owned this book some time ,but only just got around to reading it,can`t put it down, about the 5th Seaforth highlanders ,1942-45 ,El Alamein to the Elbe. Worth reading as it was written by a serving officer while still in Germany after the end of hostilities while the battalion was still all together and he could get first person accounts of every action from the guys who were there. Interesting for some small facts on patrol in the desert at night , no kit,spare ammo carried in pockets , no helmets worn either, a)because of the silhouette and b) because the slightest breeze caused a whistling in the ears and on a listening patrol that is not good. It also says how they dyed their Khaki drill trousers prior to landing in Sicily with Tea,mud and ash, to get some level of personal camouflage, the list goes on. Plenty of scope still for both sides in the desert 1940-43.

Re: My latest read, Battalion by Alistair Borthwick

Sounds interesting Alan. Although I have a fair few first hand accounts by WW2 veterans in the 'library' I don't have this one; I might search it out.

Those who fought in WW2 are becoming very elderly and their ranks are thinning fast, so recollections of past meetings and conversations are to be cherished...as are of course their written accounts.

I remember a fascinating conversation I had with an ex-8th Army tankman at Bovington Tank Museum ten or so years ago. I chanced on being there at the Museum on one of the days when they had some old tankmen in to speak to the public about their army careers. He'd been part of a Crusader crew and had fought at El Alamein. Being sensitive to veterans usually not wanting to talk about their actual battle experiences, I asked him instead what everyday life was like in the desert. He gave a full and interesting account of the tankman's routine, and I'd summarise his crew's main concerns in order of priority as (1) food and drink (2) daytime heat, and how to manage it and (3) maintenance of their tank...I'm assuming that their DAK opponents came in somewhere around (4).

Just an ordinary 'tanker', but an old soldier and a hero in his own way....and a very nice gent.

Re: My latest read, Battalion by Alistair Borthwick

Shame there's no like button :+1:

Re: My latest read, Battalion by Alistair Borthwick

ironsides
Shame there's no like button :+1:
Yes maybe a smiley :slightly_smiling_face: will do the trick

Re: My latest read, Battalion by Alistair Borthwick

ironsides
Shame there's no like button :+1:
Ironsides, that sentence still managed to get the message across 👍.

Whether it was WW1 or WW2, our veterans are an amazing group whos experiences, wisdom & leadership are sorely needed in the world today.
I have also had the opportunity to hear 1st hand accounts from them. They have always had my undivided attention and I can listen to them all day long. The stories have ranged from the humourous to one of outright horror.
Then there is those who dont need to say a single word. You just know they went through hell.

I have also enjoyed reading written accounts. One of my favourite books is "Lay in the dark and Listen"....the true story of a German POW camp whos Allied prisoners perform a real "great escape". The story is told from an RAF bomber crew member whos Vickers Wellington got shot down, and was thus captured. Was years ago when I read it but if you see it, its certainly worth a read.

We must not forget our modern day veterans either. While weapons & the nature of war has changed from the days of WW1 & WW2, the effect for many has been both mentally & physically devastating to them.
I knew someone who served in Bosnia. He carried the scars....and I dont mean physically.