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The articulate, illuminating, wryly humorous, true story of a journalist conscripted into a Second World War anti-aircraft battery – told through his letters home and woven into the social, political and military mayhem going on around him. It follows him from the chaos of the Blitz through his and the army's growing professionalism to Normandy and Nijmegen.
Derek Nudd has taken his father's letters home and has skillfully woven them into a rich tapestry that displays what the war was like for an ordinary chap (basically a bloke who was a civilian really, but who had to don the guise of a soldier because Hitler insisted on doing what despots always do, undertaking despotic acts) who had an extraordinary ability with the pen (he was an outstandingly good artist) and the typewriter.
Indeed he wrote and produced some superb newspapers (hand designed, naturally!) in all sorts of dangerous wartime locations.
The book shows Eric Nudd as a man of immense charm and wit, of outstanding abilities and a canny, yet kindly, observer of human nature.
The book contains a number of photographs and a collection of Eric's poetry, of a somewhat eclectic collection of ideas and themes.
Eric Nudd died at the tragically early age of 54.
Everyone should own a copy of this book and as it costs a mere £13.99 for a shade under 400 pages, it is worth every penny.
Intimate account of one family's Second World War experience based on the letters from Eric to his wife. Loved the detail: salary reduction due to rank; promotion stymied due to snobbishness; wry acknowledgement of some of the sheer stupidity of senior ranks. yet a hunger for knowledge, pride in company's achievements and still a sense of displacement - there through sense of duty, conviction is to be at home with the family and advancing in media career. Would highly recommend this book.
In 1940 Eric Nudd was an articulate conscript to a heavy anti-aircraft regiment. He grew over the next five years into a seasoned professional with the Normandy and North West European campaigns under his belt.
A previously unsuspected talent for maths took him from heaving shells to fire-control and then radar, giving him a ringside view of the manic wartime technology race. As a Fleet Street journalist, prolific letter-writer and occasional poet Eric published improvised news sheets from a succession of gun sites and dugouts.
This tale is told by a ‘civilian-in-uniform’ who was an acute observer and literate recorder of what he saw. His wry, sometimes scathing observations on the humour and idiocy of army life, and the military, political and cultural events of the time are set against the global cataclysm going on around him. The author colours in the background for those of us lucky enough to have missed it.
The story provides a new perspective – from underneath – on the anti-aircraft forces who, for a while after the fall of France, were the only part of the army shooting back.
The title, by the way, was a contemporary joke.
This book will appeal to the reader who enjoys historical and military biographies, and provide new insights for the student of the period.
Corrections and Clarifications
Eric was actually born in Minster, where the family had moved before his birth.
HMS Ark Royal (commissioned 1938) was not in fact the Royal Navy’s first purpose-built aircraft carrier; that honour belongs to HMS Hermes (commissioned 1924).
Convoy PQ16 lost eight (not eleven) of its thirty-five ships, plus two damaged.
My speculation about a project to deploy 3.7s by air is based on the Horsa glider, which was ridiculously inadequate for a load of that weight and bulk. I have since found out that the Hamilcar, just coming into service at that time, had an 8-ton payload, which was tantalisingly close. The gun would still have needed a lighter and smaller carriage to fit, however.
A 'Mike' target involved concentrating a regiment of artillery on a single objective; 'Uncle' target brought in the rest of the division; and a (very rare) 'Victor' target deserved the attention of a whole corps.
I have since discovered that Lieutenant Jimmy Coyle was killed in October 1944, serving with 2 Commando in Albania. He was just twenty-two years old.
Ede was Jennie's elder sister, not her aunt. At one time they both taught in the same school.