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Amidst the bustle of channel ferries, a moving and poignant ceremony paid tribute to the men of the KRRC, the Rifle Brigade and Queen Victoria’s Rifles, who along with elements of the Royal Artillery, the Royal Tank Regiment, the Royal Marines and a small detachment of French Forces, held a German Panzer Division at bay so that the British Expeditionary Force could prepare its evacuation from Dunkirk.
More than 100 guests attended a fantastic lunch at the La Cercle Amicale Maritime Club which proceeded the memorial event, which saw the presence of numerous dignitaries including Colonel Dr Jean Plancke, General Rommel representing La Legion d’Honneur, the Deputy Mayor of Calais, Norman Hummerstone MBE (Honorary Secretary of the Queen Victoria’s Rifles Association), Richard Frost MBE (Honorary Secretary of the KRRC Association) and one veteran from the tumultuous five days of 1940, Mr Webb.
Presided over by Padre Barry Burbidge of the RIFLES, the Service saw Buglers of 7 RIFLES, sound the Last Post and Reveille, the haunting notes echoing over the waves.
Author Gavin Worrall and publisher Steve Crump were in attendance as part of the build up to Gavin’s book which will document the Calais action. To be published in 2015 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the battle, Gavin’s study will detail the sequence of events during the action, drawing from exclusive material held at 7 RIFLES in Davies Street and at the RIFLES Museum in Winchester. As Steve Crump commented; ‘I am highly delighted that Gavin has chosen to take on the task of researching the Battle for Calais and the role played by 30th Infantry Brigade. With half the Brigade lacking their full complement of weapons and the command arrangements confused, this was a tragic that saw a British force fight to the end against overwhelming German odds’.
A co-publication between GG Books UK and Helion & Company, thes book will place the Battle of Calais in the context of the Channel Port operations in 1940, especially the other actions which took place at Dunkirk and Boulogne. ‘We’re especially pleased to be working with accomplished historian Gavin Worrall on this venture’ commented Steve. ‘Founder Director of Military History Tours and a world authority on Colditz Castle, Gavin is a welcome addition to the GG Books and Helion stable. In my mind there’s no one finer to take on this task and I’m eagerly looking forward to the launch event in 2015!’
About the Author
Gavin JF Worrell
BA (Hons), FCMA, CGMA, Barrister
After leaving University with a double honours degree in Accounting & Law Gavin qualified as a barrister and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1994 before going on to study professional accountancy exams. For 18 years Gavin has forged a career by combining his specialist knowledge areas of law and accountancy in the world of film and tv production. Following a successful spell at Shepperton and Pinewood Film Studios Gavin is now based at a Global TV Production and Broadcasting Company in London's West End and Washington DC where he is the Director of Finance & Administration.
Comparison has often been drawn between Gavin's analytical legal mind and strategic business planning with that of his great passion in life, military history.
Gavin's interest in military history goes back to his school days when he researched the military careers of both his grandfathers. Gavin never looked back and has spent the last 25 years cultivating a wide and varied level of military history knowledge. First and foremost Gavin is recognised as probably the world's leading authority on Colditz Castle, the notorious WW2 Nazi POW Camp for "Bad Boy" Allied Officers who had escaped from previous camps or were considered by their captors to be 'anti German'. Gavin is also seen as one of the leading authorities on Stalag Luft III, better known as the "Great Escape" Camp, made famous by the Hollywood movie of the same name. In addition Gavin is a respected authority in areas such as The Third Reich, the Holocaust and Auschwitz, to name but a few.
Over the years Gavin has worked with the media, the military and business in such areas as TV (BBC, Channel 4 in the UK, MDR in Germany), newspapers (The Guardian, The Times, The Sun in the UK), has lectured for the MoD, guided RAF on location, advised the British Army, has written various articles in military history magazines and has acted as a consultant with computer games software developers (Call of Duty). In addition Gavin has delivered many lectures and given after dinner talks on his chosen subject areas as well acting as a guide in the 'field'. Over time Gavin has developed many key local contacts in Europe which enable history really to be brought to life with the help of those that lived through these troubled times and as such is able to offer a unique experience far superior to many in the areas in question.
Gavin lives in Surrey with his wife and two children.
Gavin founded Military History Tours over 7 years ago in order to keep the stories of previous generations alive for the benefit of future generations to come. Something that everyone at MHT hold close to their hearts.
On a recent visit to Sedgefield in the Eastern Cape, the opportunity was taken to present 32 Battalion founder Jan Breytenbach with his limited edition figurine. ‘It was a real delight to meet Jan in person’ said Steve Crump. ‘We’ve corresponded over a number of years and, in particular, with reference to the 44 Para Pathfinder and 32 Battalion figurines. I was especially pleased that Jan was able to sign off the provenance certificates for both pieces - despite our endless battles with the couriers; eventually the certificates got to where they were supposed to be!’
In addition to corresponding on the detail of the figurines, GG Books were able to agree terms for the republishing of Jan’s classic works, ‘They Live by the Sword’ and ‘Eagle Strike’. ‘It’s a great privilege to be working with Jan to bring these titles back’ commented Steve. ‘In partnership with Helion and Company, we’re looking to introduce these classics to a whole new audience! Do keep checking in for details of when these titles will be published’.
PB was born in 1936 in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. As a boy during World War II he would watch the Royal Air Force training aircraft whirling in the colonial skies above - so was born his craving to fly. In 1957 he joined the Royal Rhodesian Air Force as an officer cadet. He became a senior operational pilot during the Rhodesian bush war and was instrumental in designing and producing a range of unique aeronautical weapons systems. Indeed, I remember having long conversations at Duxford with Peter on the intricacies of sub-munition systems! I think he was quite urprised that I has been involved in supporting the clearing of such ordnance during my time at the Mines Advisory Group. This along with indepth discussions on the relative merits of the Hunter and the Canberra made for great and informative banter! Never one to mince his words, PB was great and mischievious company. He will be missed - there's a missing man in the formation tonight. Rest well PB...
Yet another busy evening at the London Club of the Rifles saw the launch of John Lane's work Chicken Street! Accompanied by veteran broadcaster and journalist, Martin Bell, John enthralled the assembled audience with the background to the book and his experiences of working in humanitarian mine action. A co-publication between Helion & Company and GG Books UK, Chicken Street documents John's time as the Head of Mission for a mine action agency headed up by 'the Colonel'. 'We were especially pleased to be able to publish this work' said Steve Crump of GG Books 'and I am especially pleased we were able to work with Helion & Company on this venture. The result is a stunning document that describes the experience of Afghanistan as no other'. But perhaps the last word should be left for Martin Bell as he commented; 'John Lane has an ear for dialogue and an eye for detail and history. If only our politicians had shared his understanding of the history of Britain's three Afghan wars, set out in the back light of these pages, they might not have opted for our fourth'.
Hot off the press from Helion and 30 Degrees South comes the latest in the excellent Africa@War series! Written by Peter Baxter this volumes documents the South African Air Forces's role in the border war. From Operation Savannah through to active service in Rhodesia; Operations Protea and Daisy and the epic battle at Cuito Cuanavale, this work engages and informs as never before. The photographic reproductions are especially good and most have not been published before - to see anti-missile flare ejected from a Mirage F1 is quite something! The gun camera images of Cuban armour under attack are exceptional - and sobering too.
But the true delight in this work is the photographs and Willem Marshall's quite superb aircraft profiles; Mirage, Impala, Canberra, Buccaneer - this book has them all. In full colour they will have the aviation modeller reaching for the airbrush and the humbrol enamels!
Well done to everyone involved in producing this first class resource! As Airfix Model World magazine editor says; "An important work that documents a little-known air war as never before".
On a freezing winter's morning, former RSM Piet Nortje of South Africa's famed 32 Battalion visited the UK to check on and 'sign off' our limited edition 32 Battalion figurine.
Hosted the day previously in London by 30 Degrees South UK and Helion, Piet spent time with the team at Peter Hicks Associates studying the detail of the master sculpture. 'It was highly scary having the RSM of the Battalion reviewing the figurine! I'm glad to say that subject to a few adjustments we're good to cast!' said Steve Crump of 30 Degrees South UK who commissioned the artwork.
'Our partnership with Peter Hicks Associates goes from strength to strength' said Steve who went onto comment; 'We're now looking at the detail of our next releases - a mounted Greys Scout and a Rhodesian SAS trooper. Interest in these pieces is high with a considerable number of pre-orders already!'
Just 40 'Terrible Ones' have been commissioned and all have been sold / reserved. Casting will take place in December with distribution expected in January. 'We were especially delighted to welcome Piet who'd travelled all the way from Dubai' said Steve. 'We were also able to get an update on Piet's book 'The Terrible Ones' which is to be published in the UK by Helion & Company in 2013'. Judging on our sneak preview, there is going to be a lot of interest in this two volume work!
Over 100 people gathered to see the launch of Paul French's new work Shadows of a Forgotten Past. Guests travelled from South Africa, the US and Ireland to join Paul behind the anonymous door that conceals one of London's most fascinating and exclusive organisations - the Special Forces Club. Kindly hosted by photo-journalist and author Jim Hooper, the evening was an unparalleled and enjoyable success.
Forced to address the packed throng from the stairs, author Paul spoke candidly about his book and the experiences he documents within; 'My story is the story of the ordinary soldier. The soldier who did not win any medals. The ordinary Tommy Atkins who volunteered for Special Forces duty in several armies, watched some friends die, survived a number of combat parachute operations and achieved some of his life aims'.
Publisher Steve Crump of GG Books, co-publishers with Helion & Company, was delighted with the interest shown in Paul's book; 'This work has been a long time coming and we are delighted to see the book now in print. It starts in the 1960's when Paul joined 21 SAS and then covers his service with the Rhodesian SAS, the Selous Scouts, the South African Recce Commandos and then his time with private military companies. It's a fascinating insight into a world so few of us ever see' he commented.
Surrounded by the historic collection of material that records the valour of the Special Operations Executive and UK Special Forces, Steve reflected upon the growth of the 30 Degrees South UK brand and its GG Books imprint; 'We've been incredibly lucky over the last few years with the support we've received from authors, customers and the wider book trade. It's been great fun laying the foundations of our catalogue and our partnership with Helion & Company has been especially important to us. I'm particularly excited that we will be publishing our first book on Afghanistan next year, John Lane's Chicken Street: Afghanistan Before the Taliban. This is a conscious move as we look to expand and diversify our genre horizons! To all of you that have supported our developing and fledgling efforts, thank you. Do hook in for the longer journey - it could be quite a ride!'
A recent research visit to the infamous Colditz prison camp has seen agreement to publish a biography of the serial escaper, Mike Sinclair; otherwise known as the 'Red Fox'. Co-authored by Colditz expert Gavin Worrell and historian Nick Jackson, this work will document the incredible life and times of Lieutenant Mike Sinclair DSO.
Educated at Winchester, Sinclair went up to Cambridge before being commissioned into the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. Captured at Calais he was imprisoned in a PoW camp in Poland from which he escaped. Rounded up by the Gestapo he was sent to the 'Bad Boys Camp',Colditz in deepest Saxony. Ever determined to escape, Sinclair impersonated a German Sergeant Major and attempted to change the guard. This attempt ended with Sinclair sustaining a serious gunshot wound. In September 1944, he tried to escape again by vaulting the wire fence in the Castle's Tiergarten exercise park. Sinclair was shot dead - the only prisoner to be killed during an escape attempt at Colditz.
This all new work will be published by GG Books and Helion & Co. in 2013. It will be a stunning tribute to one of Colditz's greatest legends!
30 Degrees South UK is delighted to announce that it is to republish Peter McAleese's classic work 'No Mean Soldier'! A joint initiative between GG Books UK and Helion & Co; one of the world's leading publishers of military history.
'Peter McAleese needs no introduction' says Steve Crump of GG Books. 'and 'No Mean Soldier' is a stunning book that just screams out to be updated. We're delighted that Peter has agreed to work with us to revisit his time in the Parachute Regiment, the Rhodesian SAS and the SADF's acclaimed Pathfinder Company. With new copy provided by Peter and his former colleagues, along with rare and previously unpublished photographs, 'Beyond the No Mean Soldier' will capture and enthrall a new generation of readers'.
To be published in the summer of 2013, 'Beyond the No Mean Soldier' is not to be missed. Read it and be awed.
This incredible work tells of a Royal Artillery Forward Observer, James Eastwood, who deployed to Afghanistan in support of Arnhem Company of the British Army’s Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment – the famous ‘Arnhem Lions’.
Originally from 97 ("Nine - Seven") Battery, Royal Artillery, James was attached to and patrolled directly alongside the soldiers of the ‘Arnhem Lions’, with the heavy battlefield responsibility of swiftly providing accurate and sustained firepower to support "Troops in Contact" - that is to say, troops engaged in direct combat with the world’s most seasoned and ruthless guerrilla fighters - the Taliban.
With the codename ‘Witchcraft’, James used his unique skills to co-ordinate and vector a range of military sorcery...... Mortars, artillery - including guided missiles - attack helicopters, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and fast jets. All of which he expertly used to find, suppress or simply destroy insurgent forces in Southern Afghanistan.
In the crucible of counter insurgency that is Helmand Province, James worked incessantly to support his fellow comrades in arms; infantry soldiers who drew inspiration from their Regiment’s epic endeavours during the Battle of Arnhem in 1944. In a series of ever violent encounters, the ‘Arnhem Lions’ took the war right into the Taliban’s back yard.
Set against the harsh Afghan landscape and the ever present threat of IED's, this is a graphically honest account of the harsh reality of 21st Century warfare and the daily pressures and demands placed upon Britain’s young soldiers of today.
Read it and be inspired.
James Eastwood joined the British Army in 2002, aged 16, graduating in 2003 from the Army Foundation College and choosing to serve in the Army Air Corps. He served in the UK's first Attack Helicopter (Apache) Regiment, deploying to Afghanistan in 2006 & 2007.
Following service in Belize and wanting to see "some real action", he transferred to the Royal Artillery (RA) in 2009 to become a Forward Observer within a Fire Support Team (FST). James deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, as a Forward Observer with 97 ("Nine - Seven") Battery RA, attached to the Arnhem Company of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
At the time of writing, James is about to deploy to Afghanistan in late 2102, as a Forward Air Controller, serving with the Afghan National Army (ANA) as part of the Brigade Advisory Group - the British Army's key instructors and mentors to the ANA. James is married with a young son. Witchcraft Strike! is his first book.
Building upon the developing success of our 'Modelling Modern South African Armour' title, work has commenced on the signature builds to be featured in the 'Modelling the Rhodesian Conflict'. As before, some of the world's leading modellers will tackle a range of builds which collectively document this counter-insurgency war. Kits such as the Revell 1/32nd scale Hunter jet and the Tamiya T-55 tank are being worked upon and the book will include some advanced builds that feature extensive conversion work. As avid modeller Steve Crump explains; "In modelling terms the Rhodesian conflict is poorly documented. The modeller has to extensively adapt existing kits or scratchbuild. My contribution to the book is a Selous Scouts Unimog and this sees judicious conversion of a Revell kit from the later 'L' version to the early version as used by Rhodesian forces! It's not an easy build but I am enjoying the challenge!".
Packed will modelling tips, walkarounds and colour profiles, 'Modelling The Rhodesian Conflict' is to be published by GG Books UK in partnership with Helion & Co. It is due to be released late 2013.
We're delighted to announce that the long awaited Casspir build for Airfix Model World Magazine has been completed. Over a year in the making this build has taxed Steve Crump's model making skills to the limit! "This was a complex but rewarding build" says Steve; "It involved much work including the scratchbuild of mudflaps and much sanding and filling. The seatbelts were made from masking tape and brass rod doubled as spent cases on the cabin floor!"
A range of resources were consulted for the build including Jim Hooper's extensive image library of Koevoet operations. As Steve explains; "This BaxMod kit is depicted as a Koevoet Casspir. It is my interpretation of how such a vehicle looked - up-gunned and up-armoured for counter-insurgency operations in the the South West African / Namibian bush. I studied Jim's images carefully to get the right camouflage pattern and I was interested to see on some vehicles, traces of the original South African Police yellow underneath the dark earth and green applied by Koevoet. I've tried to replicate this detail on the model".
To be included in the planned 'Modelling Modern South African Armour', Steve is delighted with the progress of this book which is to be published by GG Books and Helion next year. "Glenn Sands at Airfix has kindly allowed for the build article to be included in the book which will also feature builds by Tamiya's Marcus Nicholls, Spain's master modeller Joaquín García Gázquez, BaxMod's Chris Baxter and South African modeller, Marc Cilliers Joaquin. With the historical development of South African Armour mapped out by William Marshall and with colour profiles from Chris Sandham-Bailey at Inkworm, the work is sure to be a hit!"
Next up on the modelling bench for Steve? "Once I've completed a long awaited Tamiya King Tiger in 1/16th scale, I will be cracking on with a 1/32nd scale Revell Hunter jet. You guess it - for another planned book; 'Modelling the Rhodesian Conflict!'
More than 50 guests gathered at London's Imperial War Museum for the launch of Jim Hooper's revised and updated Koevoet! Travelling from afar as Johannesburg and Europe, the evening saw former Koevoete, academics, historians and publishing professionals join together to hear Jim Hooper in conversation with journalist John Coster. Much was covered with the 'conversation' ranging from the Koevoet experience through to tips for budding war correspondents!
"We had an incredible evening and we were delighted that so many people were able to join us in such an auspicious venue" said Steve Crump, whose imprint GG Books published Koevoet! "Much hard work went into Jim's revised and reworked edition - more than 20 former Koevoete contributed commentary and reflection - all of which Jim skillfully wove into this new work. Hours were spent selecting new photographic material. I'm delighted with the book which documents the little known South-West African / Namibian insurgency as never before; all assembled by the consumate author, Jim Hooper' said Steve. Building upon the success of Koevoet!,GG Books and the leading military publisher Helion are now in discussion with Jim Hooper on other projects. 'We're looking at some exciting options' said Steve. 'I'm hoping we can make some announcements shortly!' - click here to view launch gallery
This exciting new work sees a plethora of leading model makers gather together to build a selection of modern South African African. Tamiya's Marcus Nicholls applies his legendary skills to a 1/35th scale Ratel 20; Spain's Joaquin Ga Gazquez tackles the conversion of an Academy Centurion to Olifant; South Africa's Chris Baxter works up a Buffel and Marc Cilliers the Ratel 90; whilst the UK's Steve Crump super details a Koevoet Casspir!
To be published by GG Books and Helion & Company, this book is a first! A history of the development of South African Armour is followed by model builds, information on camouflage and markings, vehicle profiles by leading artist Chris Sandham-Bailey and detailed walkarounds of vehicles like the Casspir and Olifant. With previously unpublished photos from the likes of veteran correspondent Jim Hooper, 'Modelling Modern South African Armour' is to be a winner.
Due for release in 2013, 'Modelling Modern South African Armour' will be followed by a companion work, 'Modelling the Rhodesian Conflict'.
We're delighted to announce that acclaimed author Alex Binda has been commissioned to write a history of Rhodesia's horse soldiers; The Greys Scouts. Building upon Alex's experience of documenting the history of the Rhodesian Light Infantry, the Rhodesian African Rifles and the Rhodesia Regiment, this work will be an all encompassing history from formation to disbandment. It will detail the development of the Scouts, their ethos, approach and operational employment. As Steve Crump observes, this work is long over due; 'I'm hugely excited that Alex has accepted our commission and that in partnership with Helion & Co., we can place into the public domain a definitive history of the Scouts that has the support of former members. It will be a tribute to the equestrian and military prowess of the Scouts'.
Born in Mozambique, Alex Binda joined the Rhodesian Army in 1965. During his fifteen year's service, he saw extensive service with both the Selous Scouts and the Greys Scouts. Awarded a Military Forces Commendation, Alex is a keen student of African military history. This Greys Scout work will be his third book. It will be published in 2014.
Helion & 30 Degrees South UK were delighted to launch the long awaited Africa@War series at a packed London Club of the Rifles. Cassinga veteran and author Mike McWilliams gave an appraisal of the airborne assault with proceedings opened by Graham Thomas, Editor of the British Army Review. Historian Bob Kershaw - author of the newly published 'The Sky Men' - gave a summary critique of the operation and its impacts - this looked at the intricacies of mounting such an airborne assault over great distances and into an unknown battle space.
Mike's presentation was especially well received - the little known assault (yet the biggest airborne operation since the second world war) - saw 44 Parachute Brigade commanded by Colonel Jan Breytenbach tackle a numerically superior enemy with decisive results. The book itself is an excellent read!
We have a small number of copies of 'Cassinga' signed by Mike McWilliams and of 'The Sky Men' signed by Bob Kershaw. To obtain your copies email firstname.lastname@example.org now!
The first known use of a sun-compass for motorized vehicles in the Desert of Egypt was during World War I with the Light Car Patrols in 1917.
To navigate during his 1929 expedition into the desert of Egypt, Bagnold used a magnetic aero-compass, which was lent to him by the Royal Geographical Society. It was carefully mounted on one of the expedition's Ford-cars but Bagnold could not manage to compensate it properly due to the influence of magnetism caused by the metal structure of the car. Bagnold found that kind of compass unreliable for the purpose and changed to the use of sun-compasses for his next expedition to the sand-sea in 1930.
Bagnold's invention was different from all other sun-compasses since it could be used whilst the vehicle was driving. However, although it was an easy to handle and very useful instrument, the British army never adopted it but kept using the other models. When Bagnold founded the Long Range Desert Group in 1940, his sun-compass became the standard instrument for this unit. Its navigators soon became the unrivaled masters of desert navigation.
This volume relates the origination of the sun compass and how it works – we love it!!!
Publisher: Herstellung und Verlag (2011) GermanySoftback – 68 pages – Numerous colour & B/W photos