THE WORLD WAR TWO GROUP discussion

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ARCHIVED READS > 2018 - August - WW2 Biography

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message 1: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments The theme read for the group this month is any book or books of your choice that covers a WW2 personality.


message 2: by John (new)

John Hickman Should the rules allow, I'd like to table my book 'RELUCTANT RERO' - a true story about my Dad, Bill, who served and survived as an RAF Lancaster Bomber pilot, when 55,000 (approx.) fellow aircrew perished.
My Dad, Bill is the principal character as it's his story told by me, although others in the book deserve a look.
Dad only ever survived by breaking the RAF rules, which he was convinced were slanted against the survival of crews. Mostly created by armchair bureaucrats and powerful aristocrats.
Against all odds Bill married my mother to be, survived the war physically but not mentally, and only ever spoke about his wartime experiences to me. His only son.
Since publication in 2011 the book has been reprinted twice, and banned by the Beenleigh and District RSL Branch (my own home town) due to being too anti-establishment, and not Rah, Rah, enough - they said.
I see that I have many thousands of characters left to post - but am unsure what else to say at this time.
Thank you for the opportunity for more readers to enjoy the story.
Nil bastardi carberandum! (Don't let the bastards grind you down!)
LEST WE FORGET!


message 3: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments For those interested here is the book John is referring to in regards to his father's wartime service:

Reluctant Hero by John Hickman Reluctant Hero by John Hickman


message 4: by Larry (last edited Jul 29, 2018 06:37PM) (new)

Larry Loftis | 75 comments What about Fitzroy Maclean and Eastern Approaches? Eastern Approaches by Fitzroy MacLean


message 5: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments Larry wrote: "What about Fitzroy Maclean and Eastern Approaches?Eastern Approaches by Fitzroy MacLean"

As long as its a biography set in WW2 why not :)


message 6: by TheIron (last edited Jul 29, 2018 09:07PM) (new)

TheIron Paw | 15 comments John wrote: "Should the rules allow, I'd like to table my book 'RELUCTANT RERO' - a true story about my Dad, Bill, who served and survived as an RAF Lancaster Bomber pilot, when 55,000 (approx.) fellow aircrew ..."

I've got to go looking for that one - especially if it was not received by the "establishment".


message 7: by TheIron (new)

TheIron Paw | 15 comments I recently finished "Terror in the Starboard Seat" by Dave McIntosh telling of his experience as a terrified navigator in a RCAF Mosquito intruder squadron. His main aim on every sortie was to get home alive, while his pilot had an "unreasonable desire" to shoot thing up.


message 8: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Thanks Larry for reminding me about a great book (which I read long ago)...ordering it from Amazon now!


message 9: by John (new)

John Hickman RELUCTANT HERO as an eBook is FREE for month of July via Smashwords.com - see LINK:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/...


'Aussie Rick' wrote: "For those interested here is the book John is referring to in regards to his father's wartime service:

Reluctant Hero by John HickmanReluctant Hero by John HickmanReluctant Hero by [author:John Hickman|495..."


TheIron wrote: "John wrote: "Should the rules allow, I'd like to table my book 'RELUCTANT RERO' - a true story about my Dad, Bill, who served and survived as an RAF Lancaster Bomber pilot, when 55,000 (approx.) fe..."


message 10: by John (new)

John Hickman RELUCTANT HERO, FREE as an eBook on Smashwords - month of July - LINK: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/...


message 11: by KOMET (new)

KOMET | 329 comments I'd highly recommend reading "Scramble: The Dramatic Story of a Young Fighter Pilot's Experiences during the Battle of Britain & Siege of Malta" by Tom Neil, who was an RAF fighter ace and survivor of both the Battle of Britain and the Siege of Malta.

This is Wing Commander Neil's story. He passed away about 2 weeks ago, age 97.

Scramble The Dramatic Story of a Young Fighter Pilot's Experiences during the Battle of Britain & Siege of Malta by Tom Neil


message 12: by Jonny (last edited Jul 29, 2018 10:26PM) (new)

Jonny | 1687 comments I'll pile in with
Cockleshell Commando by Bill Sparks Cockleshell Commando
Hopefully it'll break my run of bad luck with this sort of thing...


message 14: by Jarrod (new)

Jarrod | 24 comments Dimitri wrote: "I'll sweep this mediocrity:
Karl Doenitz and the Last Days of the Third Reich by Barry TurnerKarl Doenitz and the Last Days of the Third Reich by Barry Turner"


I'm interested to know how this one turns out. It's been on my "to-read" list for a bit.

I won't be joining in on this group-read as I just started a Napoleon biography.


message 15: by KOMET (last edited Jul 30, 2018 06:55AM) (new)

KOMET | 329 comments Sniper of the Skies: The Story of George Frederick Screwball Beurling, Dso, Dfc, Dfm by Nick Thomas

George Beurling (1921-1948) was Canada's top fighter ace of the Second World War, as well as a phenomenon among fighter pilots in the war. He began his combat service with the RAF in 1941 and served on the Channel Front flying sweeps over France for several months. During that time, he shot down 2 German fighters. Beurling chafed under the strictures of standard flight discipline and became unpopular with his superiors and fellow pilots.

In the late spring of 1942, an opportunity presented itself for overseas service, and Beurling took it. He arrived on the besieged Mediterranean island of Malta on June 9, following a long flight in a Spitfire from the carrier HMS Eagle.

Malta was where Beurling, who was already a highly skilled pilot and master shot, really came into his own. By the time he returned to the UK late in October 1942, Beurling was credited with shooting down 27 German and Italian aircraft - most of them fighters. One of his achievements unrivalled in the war was his shooting down of a Messerschmitt 109 over Malta from a distance of 800 yards. (That's almost half a mile!)

Beurling survived the war, but was restless in the early postwar years. Then in 1948, he was offered the opportunity to fly fighters for the nascent Israeli Air Force. Unfortunately, he died in a fiery plane crash in Rome on May 20th of that year under mysterious circumstances. He was 26 years old.

I first read about Beurling almost 40 years ago. He is a fascinating character.

Sniper of the Skies The Story of George Frederick Screwball Beurling, Dso, Dfc, Dfm by Nick Thomas


message 16: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1943 comments Beurling was one of the very best indeed.


message 17: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Dawson | 109 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "For those interested here is the book John is referring to in regards to his father's wartime service:

Reluctant Hero by John HickmanReluctant Hero by [author:John Hickman|495..."


Picked up a copy.


message 18: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Dawson | 109 comments Finished reading The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour An excellent recounting of the last major naval engagement in the Pacific during World War Two.


message 19: by Mark (new)

Mark Smith (cheval73) My interest is understanding America and her enemies in wartime - to that end, I write from the points of view of both sides. My first book Enemy in the Mirror ~ Love and Fury in the Pacific War had both American and Japanese protagonists. My current book The Osprey and the Sea Wolf-The Battle of the Atlantic 1942, has an Mexican-American B 25 pilot and a German U-boat commander as protagonists both in war and on the home front.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...


message 20: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments Some good books being mentioned for the theme read. I also have a copy of that book Dimitri so I will be keen to hear how it goes. I will be a few days late starting my theme book as I have a book on 1918 to finish first.


message 22: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis (phyllisrauch) | 10 comments Amazon.com: Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army ...
https://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Warri......

From the letters I (editor and translator) receive, many readers are surprised and intrigued by getting to read a book which features a hero "from the other side" They write me "I thought all German
soldiers were Nazis." Far from it. While Georg's partly Jewish mother was risking her life to hide Jewish friends behind false walls in their Viennese apartment, young Georg Rauch was helping her by selling
valuables on the black market. Also he helped to assure his survival
in the Russian front by learning to cook, Morse code, building radios,
and even playing the harmonica. If you also thought that anyone with a drop of Jewish blood was sent to the death camps, I also recommend the books by Bryan Riggs beginning with Hitler's Jewish Soldiers. Georg's is not a heavy book, or academic. He was a clever and inventive kid, with lots of street smarts. The book is partly based on the letters he wrote home to his mother from Russia. As many times as I have read it I still cry, laugh, and am on the edge of
my seat, hoping he will make it home from safely and find his family still alive. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enoyed being the
wife of this incredible artist for 40 years.


message 24: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments Can only try Mike :)


message 25: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1687 comments Nearly halfway through Cockleshell Commando, having dealt with Operation Frankton (but not the sad aftermath), and Ned's various adventures with the SBS in the Aegean. Interesting to find out that Blondie Hasler and Ned didn't get on! Nonetheless it certainly didn't affect their professional relationship. Ned is also involved in the liberation of the Greek island of Naxos and is currently behind the lines again on the island of Fournoi, hiding out in an abandoned bunker waiting for retrieval.


message 26: by Nita (new)

Nita  (goodreadscomnita) | 28 comments I plan to read Biography of a Battalion: The Life and Times of an Infantry Battalion in Europe in World War II. This is the story of my father, who landed on the beach in Normandy and was the only soldier in his unit to make it through France, the Battle of the Bulge, and then all the way to Berlin.


message 27: by John (new)

John Somers | 20 comments I'm going to start with Rommel: The Trail of the Fox Rommel The Trail of the Fox by David Irving Curious to see what this is like considering Irvings later reputation for revisionism.


message 28: by KOMET (new)

KOMET | 329 comments John wrote: "I'm going to start with Rommel: The Trail of the Fox Rommel The Trail of the Fox by David Irving Curious to see what this is like considering Irvings later reputation for revisi..."

Read The Trail Of The Fox while in college in 1983. Fantastic book.

The Trail Of The Fox by David Irving


message 29: by Jonny (last edited Jul 31, 2018 10:32PM) (new)

Jonny | 1687 comments Finished Cockleshell Commando last night, with the remainder if the book covering Ned's post war career, his involvement in the Malaya Emergency as a Policeman, his involvement with the trials of the men who ordered the murder of his team mates during Operation Frankton (which sadly failed to gain any convictions) the work he did on the Cockleshell Heroes movie and, sadly, the sale of the DSM he won on Operation Frankton to make ends met after he retired.
While an interesting book (it's obviously a full life that Ned lived), I can't help but think, as I do with most such books "there must be more to it than that". Still, it's put a few more thoughts on the to buy list for down the way...


message 30: by Robert (new)

Robert DeBard | 7 comments I offer up "The Gift of Significance: An Ordinary Soldier's Extraordinary Story of War" to those who wish to read how circumstance can play with destiny in shaping one young man's life in combat. "Smokin' Joe" Bredeson was slated to run the football for the University of Wisconsin back in 1940 before World War II interrupted his life. What followed reads like fiction, except that it's true. From being trained as an Army Ranger to being transferred into the 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles" in preparation for D-Day, Joe's testimony of heroism and heartbreak was kept silent for more than 60 years. His account moves well beyond his medals of war with an authenticity few veterans have been willing to venture. His experience in fighting Germans eventually gives way to his need to battle PTSD after the Battle of the Bulge. This message of sacrifice and salvation gives testimony to the price of freedom for this member of the "Greatest Generation." His ultimate triumph over mental illness in post-war France through the warmth of human contact will inspire your heart while the significance of his contribution will affirm the power of an individual soldier's story. "The Gift of Significance" in available on-line or paperback through Amazon.com. Bob


message 31: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments Jonny wrote: "Finished Cockleshell Commando last night, with the remainder if the book covering Ned's post war career, his involvement in the Malaya Emergency as a Policeman, his involvement with..."

Sounds like a good primer for some more in-depth reading Jonny. Sad that he had to sell his medals to make ends meet, that's just not right!


message 32: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1687 comments Sadly seems to be the way of the world today Rick. He seems to have been quite the character. I've read Robert Lyman's
Operation Suicide The Remarkable Story of the Cockleshell Raid by Robert Lyman Operation Suicide: The Remarkable Story of the Cockleshell Raid
and really need to pick up Paddy Ashdown's
A Brilliant Little Operation The Cockleshell Heroes and the Most Courageous Raid of World War 2 by Paddy Ashdown A Brilliant Little Operation: The Cockleshell Heroes and the Most Courageous Raid of World War 2;
The original
Cockleshell Heroes (Pan Grand Strategy) by C.E. Lucas Phillips Cockleshell Heroes
was good but a bit dated.
Bill Sparks:
http://www.canveyisland.org/page_id__...
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2002...
The first link also has the rather nice BBC documentary on Operation Frankton. And Bill's "chariot":
https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/it...


message 33: by KOMET (last edited Aug 02, 2018 05:01AM) (new)

KOMET | 329 comments German Fighter Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille: The Life Story Of The Star Of Africa by Franz Kurowski.

German Fighter Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille The Life Story Of The Star Of Africa by Franz Kurowski

Here's a lavish biography, replete with lots of photos, of one of the Luftwaffe's most remarkable fighter pilots. Were Marseille born a decade later than he was, he would in all likelihood be regarded as a beatnik, for he was a bit of a bohemian, with a love of jazz music (which the Nazis despised), and a flare for living life to the full.

The great Luftwaffe ace and General of the Fighter Ace Adolf Galland regarded Marseille as "the virtuoso among fighter pilots." His flying skills amazed even the most jaded and war-weary Luftwaffe fighter pilot, and his exceptional shooting ability inspired awe. Of the 158 victories Marseille scored against the Western Allies, 151 were achieved in the skies over North Africa. Indeed, during the course of 1 day - September 1, 1942 - Marseille shot down 17 enemy planes.


message 34: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments Jonny wrote: "Sadly seems to be the way of the world today Rick. He seems to have been quite the character. I've read Robert Lyman's
[bookcover:Operation Suicide: The Remarkable Story of the Cockleshell Raid|13..."


I think I have a copy of "Operation Suicide: The Remarkable Story of the Cockleshell Raid" but I will have to conduct a search to make sure :)


message 35: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments I'm going to be starting my theme book this morning, fingers crossed its a good account. The book itself looks pretty good with an abundance of B&W photographs spread throughout the book.

Panzer Ace The Memoirs of an Iron Cross Panzer Commander from Barbarossa to Normandy by Richard Freiherr von Rosen Panzer Ace: The Memoirs of an Iron Cross Panzer Commander from Barbarossa to Normandy by Richard Freiherr von Rosen


message 36: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1943 comments KOMET wrote: "German Fighter Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille: The Life Story Of The Star Of Africa by Franz Kurowski.

[bookcover:German Fighter Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille: The Life Sto..."


Many people think my book on Marseille is better, perhaps because as I wrote it with Anne, I referred to not just the records, but the dozens of interviews I conducted with the pilots and others who knew and fought with Marseille. I wanted it "in their own words" so to speak as they witnessed his life.


https://www.amazon.com/Star-Africa-Co...


message 37: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments Well I'm currently enjoying my theme book; "Panzer Ace". The author has completed his training and has been posted to the 35th Panzer Regiment of the 4th Panzer Division and is a gunner in a Mk III Panzer and has just crossed over into Russia during Operation Barbarossa.


message 38: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments In my book the author has been injured when his Panzer III crashed through a bridge in Russia. After recovering back in Germany he has been posted to the 2nd Company of the 502nd Heavy Panzer Battalion (Schwere Panzerabteilung 502). Apparently this unit became the most decorated Heer Tiger company:

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/revi...

502nd Heavy Panzer Battalion:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/502nd_H...


message 39: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1687 comments Travels with my Tiger? That must have been a survival boost...


message 40: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Aug 04, 2018 02:13PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments It was very much, he likened it to a "life assurance"!


message 41: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Aug 04, 2018 02:18PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments The author's unit has just been incorporated into a new Tiger Abteilung in January 1943. His company is now the 3rd Company of the Heavy PzAbt 503:

http://www.axishistory.com/axis-natio...

https://warthunder.com/en/news/2806--en

My next chapter details the author's involvement in Operation Zitadelle.


message 42: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1943 comments Kampfgruppe von Rosen was in fact contained the most highly decorated group of tank and TD commanders in crews in the German Heer. I interviewed many of them. Amazing stories.


message 43: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments For those interested this propaganda film clip shows Leutenant Richard Freiherr von Rosen (Tiger no. 300) leading companies of Schwere Pz Abt 503 in their new King Tigers. Leutenant Richard Freiherr von Rosen is thr author of the book I'm currently reading; "Panzer Ace":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuOCy...


message 44: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments In the YouTube video above at the 3-5 second mark you will see Unteroffizier Kurt Knispel who was credited with the destruction of 168 enemy tanks.

Kurt Knispel:
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/1...


message 45: by Manray9 (last edited Aug 05, 2018 07:24PM) (new)

Manray9 | 4282 comments I am joining this month's theme read with J. A. Cole's bio of William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw-Haw.

Lord Haw-Haw & William Joyce The Full Story by J. A. Cole Lord Haw-Haw & William Joyce: The Full Story

Some Americans my be unfamiliar with Joyce. He was Britain's equivalent to Axis Sally or Tokyo Rose. A British fascist, Joyce spent the war making propaganda broadcasts from Berlin directed against Britain. Unlike Axis Sally or Tokyo Rose, he went to the gallows as a traitor although some controversy exists concerning his status as a British subject.


message 46: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments I hope its a good book MR9, keep us all posted on your progress.


message 47: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2859 comments Manray9 wrote: "I am joining this month's theme read with J. A. Cole's bio of William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw-Haw...."

I only know Lord Haw-Haw from comic books--was it Sgt Rock? Can't quite recall.


message 48: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2859 comments I had two books picked out...so I went with a third. Started this one today and will probably take all month to finish, it's substantial:

The Last Hero Wild Bill Donovan by Anthony Cave Brown The Last Hero: Wild Bill Donovan


message 49: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17328 comments Another interesting title for the theme month, I hope its a good account Mike.


message 50: by Manray9 (last edited Aug 05, 2018 10:03PM) (new)

Manray9 | 4282 comments Mike wrote: "Manray9 wrote: "I am joining this month's theme read with J. A. Cole's bio of William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw-Haw...."

I only know Lord Haw-Haw from comic books--was it Sgt Rock? Can't qui..."


I was a huge fan of Sgt. Rock. Much more than Sgt. Fury. Really liked the Star-Spangled War Stories.


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