An Il­lus­trated In­tro­duc­tion to The Bat­tle of Bri­tain

By Henry Buck­ton

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE -

(Am­ber­ley Books, 96 pages, £9.99) The 75th an­niver­sary of this key chap­ter of the Se­cond World War has seen nu­mer­ous com­mem­o­ra­tions, a fly­past at the Na­tional Me­mo­rial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne, as well as count­less news­pa­per and mag­a­zine ar­ti­cles, doc­u­men­taries and books. Henry Buck­ton’s lat­est of­fer­ing sets the scene, de­scrib­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion, ground re­sources, ar­ma­ments and air­craft avail­able to Fighter Com­mand, be­fore break­ing the con­flict up into phases – from the bat­tle for the English Chan­nel to the fi­nal phase, be­gin­ning in Septem­ber 1940, when the Luft­waffe changed tac­tics to fo­cus ef­forts on a mas­sive bomb­ing cam­paign of Lon­don. The writ­ing is ac­ces­si­ble and the chrono­log­i­cal di­ary for­mat takes you through the bat­tle’s main el­e­ments at an ab­sorb­ing pace.

This ex­cel­lent lit­tlell bbookk hardly breaks new ground, but its great­est strength lies with the il­lus­tra­tions. There are count­less dra­matic and dy­namic paint­ings by Suf­folk artist Joe Crow­foot, and fas­ci­nat­ing, of­ten rare pho­tos, such as a haunt­ingly grainy colour shot of a Ger­man pi­lot aboard a Messer­schmitt Bf 109E in flight. Also, the qual­ity of the pa­per is such that the il­lus­tra­tions re­ally jump out of the page. Not one for the afi­cionado per­haps, but as a “lav­ishly il­lus­trated and ac­ces­si­ble guide”, this does ex­actly what it sets out to do.

Jonathan Scott is a writer

spe­cial­is­ing in ge­neal­ogy

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