In ‘Fighter Boys’ Patrick Bishop brought to life the pilots who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes in the summer of 1940. Their skill and bravery decided the Battle of Britain, which saved the nation from invasion and created the conditions for Hitler's defeat.In ‘Bomber Boys’ he tells a different but equally fascinating story. The 125,000 men from all over the world who passed through Bomber Command were engaged in a form of warfare that had never been fought before and never would be again. Between 1940 and 1945 they flew continuously, stopping only when weather made operations impossible. For much of that time they were the only warriors capable of hitting Germany in its own territory. There was nothing romantic about their struggle. Often barely out of boyhood they lived on bleak bases, flying at night on long, nerve-racking missions that often ended in death. The odds of surviving were stacked heavily against them. In all 55,000 were killed, nearly one in ten of all the British and Commonwealth dead.Despite these sacrifices, the Bomber Boys have remained on the edges of our collective memory of the war. When the fighting stopped they became something of a a political embarrassment. Their actions have been the subject of a controversy that continues to the present, obscuring not only the losses they suffered but also the courage, comradeship and fortitude with which they fought.In this powerful and moving book Patrick Bishop describes compellingly the character, feelings and motivations of the bomber crews and pays tribute to their heroism and determination. They were among the best of their generation, who were called on to carry out one of the grimmest duties of the Second World War. ‘Bomber Boys’ brilliantly restores these men to their rightful place in our consciousness.
A gripping account of the epic hunt for Hitler’s most terrifying battleship – the legendary Tirpitz – and the brave men who risked their lives to attack and destroy this most potent symbol of the Nazi’s fearsome war machine.Tirpitz was the pride of Hitler’s navy. To Churchill, she was ‘the Beast’, a menace to Britain’s supply lines and a threat to the convoys sustaining Stalin’s armies. Tirpitz was said to be unsinkable, impregnable –no other target attracted so much attention.In total 36 major Allied operations were launched against her, including desperately risky missions by human torpedoes and midget submarines and near-suicidal bombing raids. Yet Tirpitz stayed afloat. It was not until November 1944 that she was finally destroyed by RAF Lancaster Bombers flown by 617 Squadron – the Dambusters – in a gruelling mission that tested the very limits of human endurance.The man who led the raid – Willie Tait – was one of the most remarkable figures of the war, flying missions almost continuously right from the start. Until now his deeds have been virtually unknown. With exclusive co-operation from Tait’s family, Patrick Bishop reveals the extraordinary achievement of a man who shunned the spotlight but whose name will be renowned for generations to come.The book is a magnificent, accessibly written wartime adventure, perfect for fans of Ben Macintyre’s ‘Agent Zigzag’ or ‘Operation Mincemeat’.
‘Boldly planned, bravely executed and brilliantly accomplished’ was Margaret Thatcher’s assessment of the Falklands campaign. But what did the war mean to the men in the trenches and below decks?This gripping first-hand account of the Falklands War, written by bestselling military historian Patrick Bishop and Sunday Times Editor John Witherow, reveals the true experiences of the British soldiers and seamen on the front line. The authors, then rookie reporters, lived alongside the fighting men, experiencing the daily realities of a British task force that was hugely outnumbered on a barren island 8,000 miles from home. The Falklands: The Winter War looks at the covert role of the SAS and the heroic death of Colonel ‘H’ Jones at Goose Green, and considers just how close Britain came to defeat.This is an extraordinarily frank and unsparing account of a military campaign that has held a defining place within the British national conscience since victory in 1982.
Afghanistan, Summer 2006. This is war.Afghanistan in the summer of 2006. In blazing heat in remote outposts the 3 Para battlegroup is pitted against a stubborn enemy who keep on coming. Until now, the full story of what happened there has not been told. This is it.In April 2006, the elite 3 Para battlegroup was despatched to Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. They were tasked with providing security to reconstruction efforts, a deployment it was hoped would pass off without a shot being fired. In fact, over the six months they were there, the 3 Para battle group saw near continuous combat – one gruelling battle after another – in what would become one of the most extraordinary campaigns ever fought by British troops.Around parched, dusty outposts reliant on a limited number of helicopters for food and ammunition resupply, troops were subjected to relentless Taliban attacks, as well as energy-sapping 50 degree heat and spartan conditions. At the end of the tour, the Taliban offensive aimed at driving the British and Afghan Government troops out of Helmand had been tactically defeated. But 3 Para paid a high price: fourteen soldiers and one interpreter were killed, and 46 wounded.‘3 Para’ will tell the stories of the men and women who took part in this extraordinary and largely unreported saga. Best-selling author Patrick Bishop has been given exclusive access to the soldiers whose tales of courage and endurance provide an unforgettable portrait of one of the world's finest and most fascinating fighting regiments, and a remarkable band of warriors. Their bravery was reflected in the array of gallantry medals that were bestowed on their return, including the Victoria Cross awarded to Corporal Bryan Budd and the George Cross won by Corporal Mark Wright, both of whom were killed winning their awards.3 Para’s saga of comradeship, courage and fortitude is set to become a classic.
In a return to sweeping social history of wartime, Patrick Bishop – author of bestselling Fighter Boys and Bomber Boys – explores the lives and wartime experience of thousands of men and women who served in all units of the airforce. To mark the centenary of the RAF in 2018.On 1 April 2018, the Royal Air Force will be a hundred years old – a short life by military standards but an extraordinarily important and eventful one.From the start it was special, standing sometimes awkwardly but always proudly a little apart from the existing services. It was a product of the modern age, whose fortunes depended on ever-more sophisticated machines and the right calibre of men to fly them and to keep them airborne.Its achievements between 1939 and 1945 – when it was Britain's last line of defence and the spearhead of its counter-attack, were central to the entire war effort.During these years, one in four of those in uniform wore air force blue and the ethos of the RAF was indistinguishable from the spirit of the nation.Following his bestselling books Fighter Boys and Bomber Boys, Airforce Blue tells personal stories of those who served, using the letters, diaries and memoirs of the participants to create a true picture of what it was like to be a pilot, a navigator, a gunner, a fitter or a WAAF ops room clerk. It recreates the reality of operations, whether wheeling over Kent in a Spitfire in 1940, rumbling towards the Ruhr in a Halifax the 1942 or looking down from the cockpit of a Liberator at the grey corrugated waters of the North Atlantic in 1943. It will also light up the humanity of the participants at every level; their values and motivations, their desires and ambitions.Air Force Blue is a substantial work of history, a monument to the wartime RAF as a whole and a must-buy for the descendants of the million-plus men and women from not just Britain but Canada, Australia and New Zealand who served.