Britain’s Coast At War written by Neil R Storey and published by Pen & Sword Books – £25.00 – Hardback – Pages 272
The whole of Britain’s coastline was involved in the struggle against the Nazis. In the early days invasion was the main threat. Dover and the South East suffered grievously from aerial attacks and were also shelled by German artillery from across the Channel, the area was dubbed ‘Hell Fire Corner.’ Cities and towns all around the coast such as Plymouth, Portsmouth, Hull and Great Yarmouth were the targets of devastating air raids. The coast and lochs of Scotland became a key training area for commandos and assault troops for D-Day and its ports saw the return of crews of sunk vessels of both sides.
The East Coast was pivotal to North Sea operations against enemy mining and E-boat operations. The Western ports, particularly Liverpool, were crucial to the vital Atlantic convoys and the defeat of the U-boat threat.
The final months of training and preparation for D-Day centred on the South Coast when disaster struck during Exercise Tiger off Slapton Sands.
Britain’s coastal ports continued to attract ‘Tip and Run’ raids and the attention of V rockets that changed the character of many of these towns and cities forever. Neil Storey’s superbly researched work brilliantly describes all this and more in words and images.
This book is like one of those ‘behind the scenes’ type books or films, in that we all know the major part of war is the battles and fighting but this is the ‘backstage’ crew in that this book is all about the homeland coastal defences, the local defence volunteer forces. The women getting in the fish and helping support the fishing industry to provide food for men and a nation and it’s about training the men to be able to do what we need the soldiers to do. I loved this book because it was about the background work and there was a whole lot of local history giving you the stories and tales of those trying to live life on the homefront and doing the work back home that a nation needed doing. Now I’m going to say the book is very well written indeed and a great job has been done. But I’m going to say the photographs in this book are equally important to the story, there are over 200 altogether and really sum up a country’s war spirit. I’m even going to say this book is so good, this book is definitely in my top 5 books of this year for sure, I want to re-read it and use it as a reference guide. If you want to read a great book this year that is more than just about war, this is it.