Category: WWII

How do you get an RAF fighter to Berlin and back in 1943?

This week: U-Boat through Straits of Gibraltar Competition Winner and the new competition: How do you get an RAF fighter to Berlin and back in July 1943?

Sorry for the hiatus in the last week: first I had a bad cold and then my fridge-freezer broke two days ago! Anyway I’m back.

How do you get an RAF fighter to Berlin and back in July 1943?
Since my post about getting a U-boat through the Straits of Gibraltar was my most popular yet, here is a similar post. Let me explain the mission: you need a fighter small enough to fly down Unter den Linden (the equivalent of Oxford Street in Berlin), carrying 1000 lb bombs. The fighter needs to be able to negotiate the Brandenburg gate and fly low over the Reich Chancellery garden and still manage to land somewhere far enough from Berlin that the pilot can safely get back to England. There is only one RAF fighter that could do all this in 1943: the Hawker Hurricane II. Continue reading “How do you get an RAF fighter to Berlin and back in 1943?”

How do you get a U-Boat through Gibraltar Straits in 1945?

Did you know the typical U-Boat torpedo was steam-driven and had a range of 12 Km?
Below in this post is an excerpt from my forthcoming book December Radio. This part is where a team of fantatical German nuclear scientists are being smuggled out of German held territory in a U-Boat. But I don’t want to give too much away…

I did have to think very hard about how even a very talented U-Boat captain would get through the Gibraltar Straits. Every trick seems to have been tried in the Hollywood movies like Torpedo Run, The Cruel Sea, and Run Silent, Run Deep. What is more, by 1945 the Royal Navy pretty much owned the Straits and no U-boat had got out through the Straits since 1942. They had got in, but not out. Continue reading “How do you get a U-Boat through Gibraltar Straits in 1945?”

Blog: The Taste of First Blood

This week: Werewolves in Mauritius, Rewards for Reviews, Short Stirling aircraft recovery, Video Blog Tour

Werewolves in Mauritius
I often feel like a rabbit in the headlights when it comes to blog time. I simply haven’t prepared anything much and I am so busy, yet I want to give something to my readers and fans. This week it is a little easier because I came across this article on Werewolves in Mauritius. Actually it’s not the original recent article I was looking for – I heard of this phenomenon back in the summer – but the frequency of reports shows just how steeped in Werewolf culture Mauritius is.

Werewolves – or Loup Garou – the French equivalent word – inhabit the Mauritian subconscious like the sea and sun of this gorgeous island. They are said to prowl the streets and night, rape women and appear as naked men covered in oil. They are also said to be able to vanish at will but despite having such supernatural powers, they are not averse to a little high-tech gadgetry in their lives. The most recent spate of sighting this year included several eye-witness accounts of the Loup Garou carrying mobile phones and even talking on them! Continue reading “Blog: The Taste of First Blood”

Questions I asked Cliff Robertson about 633 Squadron in 2010

If you’ve watched the popular war movie, you’ve probably asked one of two questions:

Did Cliff Robertson die in 633 Squadron?
Did Roy Grant die in 633 Squadron?

Well, I asked Cliff Robertson while he was alive, and the answer is in this post!

This post has been copied from the original post on my old blog (now deleted – see Reference Note at end of page). It would be a shame to lose it. Cliff, who played Roy Grant, was nice enough to reply by letter to a questionnaire I sent him about 633 Squadron. Below is my original letter. (Please note, Cliff did not answer all questions and here I have left the response blank.)

Note: Cliff died in 2011, but I have left the post in its original form.

Dear Mr Robertson,

633 Squadron is the film in which I first saw you and made me a fan of yours. Ever since then I have sought out any film with you in it and recently, at last, I managed to see Charly (which I have never seen scheduled in England on TV).

633 Squadron has always been a very popular movie in England: filmed at Bovingdon airfield, it was regularly shown on TV during my childhood and is my favourite film. Today I think the film has entered the national psyche and is even the subject of contemporary adverts. The theme music is one of the best-loved pieces of music here and for myself, I never tire of watching your performance as the laconic Roy Grant. I think, more than any other film (certainly on flying or war), it has come to represent the best, something fundamental, about the British character. Many fans would love to know more about the film and about your part: you only have to look at the posts on youtube alongside excerpts (illegal I am sure) of the movie to see how popular it is, and yet you have been almost silent on it. Please Cliff, would you be so kind as to try and find time to answer the following questions for your fans in England (I cannot speak for Wales, Ireland and Scotland but I am sure they feel the same).
A movie and aviation buff. Continue reading “Questions I asked Cliff Robertson about 633 Squadron in 2010”