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Book Review – The Berlin Blitz by those who were there by Martin W Bowman

Whats it about:-

The Allied bombing of Berlin was the longest and most sustained bombing offensive against one target in the Second World War. The Berlin Blitz by Those Who Were There is a compelling, gripping and thought-provoking story of the Allied bombing forces and the ordinary people on the ground, told in their own tongue and with meticulous attention to detail. The result is a coherent, single story which unfolds in a straightforward and incisive narrative. This work draws attention in some detail to the major raids on the Reich capital by RAF Bomber Command from the late summer of 1940 to September 1943. It begins with the reliable but largely ineffective twin-engined Blenheims, Hampdens, Wellingtons and Whitleys, through to the introduction into front-line service of the four-engined ‘heavies’ - the Stirling, Manchester and Halifax, which bore the brunt of the bomber offensive until the advent of the incomparable Avro Lancaster in 1942 and the superlative Mosquito. On 30 January 1943, on the tenth anniversary of Hitler’s usurpation of power, two formations (each of three Mosquitoes) appeared over Berlin in daylight and interrupted large rallies being addressed by Goering and Goebbels. Sir Arthur Harris, Commander-in-Chief, RAF Bomber Command, hoped to ‘wreck Berlin from end to end’ and ‘produce a state of devastation in which German surrender is inevitable’. But the ‘Big City’, as it was known to his faithful ‘old lags’, was never completely destroyed.

Our Review

This book focuses on bombing raids to Berlin between 1940 & 1943 & tells the story of those raids through very personal stories of those who took part.

Arranged in Chronological order the reader is plunged into some gripping stories. As a Genealogist I just love Social History so this book was right up my street. One of the stories early on featured a crew who had to ditch over water, the story tells of their time on the dingy….it was hard not to feel as it you were actually there with them! I do love history told through the eyes of those who were actually there, it can be much more interesting to hear things from a variety of perspectives.

As the Archivist for 102 Squadron Association, I was interested to see that several of our men are featured in the book, so I am afraid to say there have been a few pages folded over for future reference.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interesting in Bomber Command, it had me on the edge of my seat at times & I found it hard to put down.

You can purchase the book from Pen & Sword books via the following link

It might be worth mentioning that Martin Bowman will be taking part in our Free Allied Air Force Research webinar series & will provide a presentation this December, find out more via this link


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