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Operation Catapult: A Most Disagreeable Task

Operation Catapult: A Most Disagreeable Task

It was midnight on 25 June 1940 when the armistice, signed three days earlier by French and German representatives at Compiègne, came into force and ended the Battle of France. In a mere six weeks the Germans had conquered much of western Europe, including France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. These unfortunate countries would remain…

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She Fought at Jutland: HMS Caroline

She Fought at Jutland: HMS Caroline

The Battle of Jutland – referred to by the Germans as Skagerrakschlacht, or Battle of Skagerrak – was the largest naval engagement of the First World War, fought between the Grand Fleet of the British Royal Navy and the High Seas Fleet of the Imperial German Navy in 1916. There are, of course, no human…

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Avro Lancaster KB889

Avro Lancaster KB889

There are currently only two airworthy Avro Lancasters in the world. These include: PA474, operated by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in the UK, and FM213, flown in Canada by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. However, a number of other ‘static’ survivors also exist, including KB889, which is currently on display at the Imperial…

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Napoleon’s Continental System

Napoleon’s Continental System

Great Britain was never able to field an army that could match in size most of those that fought for or against Napoleon on Continental Europe during the Napoleonic Wars. She did, however, gain mastery of the seas that, particularly following the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805, remained largely unchallenged until the First World…

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For Valour: A First-Day Battle of the Somme VC

For Valour: A First-Day Battle of the Somme VC

Temporary-Major Stewart Walter Loudoun-Shand of the Yorkshire Regiment was one of nine men to receive the Victoria Cross – Britain’s highest award for valour ‘in the face of the enemy’ – on the first-day of the Battle of the Somme, fought from 1 July to 18 November 1916. Of those nine, only three would survive…

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I was Monty’s Double: Meyrick Edward Clifton James

I was Monty’s Double: Meyrick Edward Clifton James

In April 1944, Lieutenant-Colonel John Jervis-Reid was perusing the News Chronicle newspaper when he came across a photograph of Meyrick Edwards Clifton James dressed as Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. James had been briefly appearing in a stage show as the famous British military commander, a late addition to the production which had not proved overly…

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The Angels of Mons

The Angels of Mons

There are numerous myths that have developed about the Battle of Mons, the first major clash between British and German forces on the Western Front during the First World War, since it was fought on 23 August 1914. However, perhaps one of the most well-known is the so-called ‘Angels of Mons’, a myth that quickly…

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The Observer Corps: The Forgotten Civilian Volunteers of the Battle of Britain

The Observer Corps: The Forgotten Civilian Volunteers of the Battle of Britain

Ask any British person what they know about the Battle of Britain and you will almost certainly receive answers that include references to the Spitfire, Hurricane or ‘The Few’. However, there were many others who played an important role during the summer air campaign of 1940, whose less glamorous efforts have sadly been largely forgotten…

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Young Douglas Haig

Young Douglas Haig

Most people will have heard of Field Marshall Douglas Haig, who is often remembered as the ‘Butcher of the Somme’ due to the horrendously high casualty rates suffered by the British Army during the offensive in 1916. Indeed, Haig has been a controversial figure amongst historians ever since the end of the First World War,…

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Wing Commander James Brindley Nicolson VC DFC

Wing Commander James Brindley Nicolson VC DFC

Despite the length and ferociousness of the aerial combat, Flight Lieutenant James Nicolson was the only RAF pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Battle of Britain. Indeed, he was the only member of Fighter Command to receive the prestigious award throughout the whole of the Second World War. So who was James…

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