Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer
An RAF Officer's Memoir of the Battle of France 1940
By Alastair Panton & Victoria Panton Bacon
Hardback RRP: 16.99 Our Price: £12
eBook RRP: £12.99 Our Price: £1.99*
A vivid and unique memoir of life as an RAF reconnaissance pilot in France during the summer of 1940. A must for general readers, history fanatics and military enthusiasts alike.
“The clarity of this book … is as surprising as its humanity; it rattles along as both great drama and poignant social commentary … [his story] deserves to be told.” The Times
“What I assumed might be a dutiful skim through yet another war memoir, rapidly turned into one of the most enthralling accounts of a campaign I have ever read.” Best of British
“One can’t help feeling awe and reverence for people like this. There are enough adventures here for a lifetime, let alone six weeks.” Louis de Bernières
“The story is beautifully written … and it is difficult to put down once started. This really would make a wonderful Christmas present.” Iain Carter, Blenheim Society Journal
Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer is the story of the Battle of France through the eyes of an RAF Reconnaissance pilot. This was a battle lost; beginning with the occupation of Belgium and the Netherlands early in May 1940, it ended just six weeks later when the Germans finally took France, by which time thousands of the Allies had been killed, captured or fearfully injured.
The pilot was my Grandfather, Flying Officer Alastair Panton, captain of a Bristol Blenheim light bomber. There is no doubting the moving nature of his book; there is much grief as he recalls the loss of many of his comrades, his brother, those who perished on the Lancastria and finally, when he is shot down for a fourth time, the death of his gunner. However, in spite of sadness and uncertainty all around him, Grandfather writes, too, of friendship, sunrises, bully-beef sandwiches, refugees, washing naked in a river, candles burning in Chartres Cathedral and of course, the joy of flight. It is a barn-storming page turner of a book which recalls, in his words "the stinging heat of a burning Blenheim; smells, tastes, expressions, sounds of voices, the difficulties of landings, and most of all the fear that gripped deep inside him."
I found the book amongst my own father's belongings after he died, a couple of years ago. My father had often tried to teach me key facts about the Second World War, but it wasn't until I read Blenheim Summer - my dear Grandfather's own words, describing the painful reality, that I began to appreciate the horror of war, and then facts, too, started to sink in. I am sure my Grandfather wrote his memoir in the hope that eventually it might see the light of day, and serve as a tribute to those who died and suffered alongside him.
Strategically, the Battle of France was very important; vital, but expensive, lessons were learnt and, thankfully, the Battle of Britain that started so soon after France was occupied, ended victoriously. Next year we will commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War Two, and the seventy-fifth anniversaries of both the Battles of Britain, and France. The Battle of Britain is a well-known, celebrated episode of World War Two that will no doubt - rightfully - be commemorated in all its glory, whilst remembering too those who fell. However, the Battle of France also deserves its rightful place in history and we must remember those who died and suffered during those six weeks too. Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer helps us remember those important, forgotten days.
*Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer is our eBook offer of the day, and is available for just £1.99 until midnight tonight. The hardback is available for just £12, with free UK delivery up until January 5th 2015.
Christmas Day is just over 2 weeks away, and if you're anything like us you are probably hurrying around looking for the ideal Christmas presents for your family, friends, and that colleague you ended up with in Secret Santa...
The search is over! We've handpicked the ideal selection of gifts for you to give this Christmas. They're on offer, and available on free UK delivery too. We do spoil you! Start shopping now.
Remember to order before the 19th to guarantee delivery in time for the big day.
To commemorate the extraordinary career of Gordon Brown, who today announced his intention to stand down as an MP at the next General Election, we are offering the eBook edition of Anthony Seldon and Guy Lodge’s seminal work Brown at 10 at the special price of £1.99. The paperback is also available for just £6.99.
Brown at 10 is the definitive account of Brown’s turbulent three years as Prime Minister and was labelled ‘the must-read account of Brown's highly tempestuous premiership’ by the BBC’s Nick Robinson.
"A must-read" Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian
"Superbly well-informed." Peter Oborne, The Telegraph
Paperback RRP: £14.99 Our Price: £6.99
eBook RRP: £12.99 Our Price: £1.99
Today marks the release of the movie thriller, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. In it, Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing: mathematician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist who, along with the other wartime denizens of Bletchley Park’s 'Station X', helped crack the German Enigma code that helped the Allies win the war. It is often said that the work of the analysts, scientists and mathematicians of Bletchley Park shortened the war by up to two years. To help you find out more about the extraordinary achievements that occurred at Bletchley, as well as the marvellous people who achieved them, Biteback has prepared an offer on three of our bestselling titles on Station X.
The Secrets of Station X
By Michael Smith
The astonishing story of how the British codebreakers of Bletchley Park cracked the Nazi Enigma cyphers, cutting an estimated two years off the Second World War. The Secrets of Station X tells the full story of the efforts taken to secure victory for the Allies.
The Bletchley Park Codebreakers
Edited by Ralph Erskine & Michael Smith
This extraordinary book, originally published as Action This Day, includes descriptions by some of Britain’s foremost historians on the work of Bletchley Park, from the breaking of Enigma and other wartime codes to the invention of modern computing, as well as its influence on Cold War codebreaking. Most notably The Bletchley Park Codebreakers offers a humanistic insight into the individuals, whose brilliance arguably won the war.
Dilly: The Man Who Broke Enigma's
By Mavis Batey
Many have heard of the tragic story of codebreaker Alan Turing, but few know of his eccentric colleague Alfred Dillwyn Knox, known simply as ‘Dilly’. Chief codebreaker for the Admiralty during World War One, before being recruited for the top secret mission housed within Bletchley Park during World War Two, Dilly’s codebreaking skills played a vital part in the deception operation that ensured the success of the D-Day landings.
It's officially that time of year again!
Christmas adverts have arrived, the shops are filling up with festive treats and we've all fallen in love with #montythepenguin. This year, we thought we'd offer you something extra special to help you get your Christmas shopping underway. FREE POSTAGE! That's right. From now until January 5th 2015, we're offering free UK delivery on all orders from our site.
So whether you'll be buying Thank You For This Moment for yourself, The Secret Agent's Bedside Reader for your uncle, Breaking the Code and Alex Salmond : My Part in His Downfall for your partner, and the Provocations Series as stocking fillers, you can make the most of our money-saving free delivery offer now!