Le Chant des Partisans: 75 years since a song took flight

When Andre Malraux eulogised Jean Moulin and the ‘army of shadows’ on the steps of the Panthéon in December 1964, he reached for the words of one of France’s national hymns. The Chant des Partisans was an anthem of the Liberation that had hung upon the lips of resisters even during the Nazi Occupation. First broadcast as a whistled tune on the BBC, the stirring … Continue reading Le Chant des Partisans: 75 years since a song took flight

Resistance by Moonlight

There’s always a slightly awkward moment when you talk to a room full of history enthusiasts about your favourite item in a Military Aviation Museum. For me, it’s not the Hawker Hunter in which Neville Duke broke the Air Speed Record, nor even the wreckage of a Hawker Hurricane shot down in the Battle of Britain. My favourite item, as I nervously admitted, is a … Continue reading Resistance by Moonlight

How a Ladies’ College Played a Vital Role in Operation Overlord

On 16 August 1940, the Stuka raid on Tangmere was one of the most serious yet to have struck England. This surgical strike against the station destroyed 13 aircraft and resulted in the tragic death of 10 RAF servicemen and three civilians. On top of this, almost all of the pre-war hangars, the station workshops, stores and the water pumping station were destroyed, with widespread … Continue reading How a Ladies’ College Played a Vital Role in Operation Overlord

Pseudo-Padres Hiding in the Lavatory: An RAF Escape Exercise, 1943

Continuing in the series of comical findings from the archives, I thought I’d relate details of an RAF Escape Exercise that took place on 16th December, 1943 at RAF Tangmere. It sounds like a mixture of the Great Escape and a Carry On film, and I like it for the way it shows the preparation and resourcefulness that continued to happen during the War. I’ve … Continue reading Pseudo-Padres Hiding in the Lavatory: An RAF Escape Exercise, 1943