War on Wheels was about the men and women (including my father and mother) who mechanised the Army in WW2; MacRoberts Reply, is the story of an aircraft, the woman who bought her and the men who flew her; Ordnance explores what some of those people in my first book and others experienced in supplying the Army in WW1. Charlotte Brontë’s Devotee is about William Smith Williams who discovered her genius. My next looks at Soldiers Who Armed an Army. They are all people’s stories.
A Perry wrote reviews of both books on Amazon and had read Ordnance first. This is what was written:
A Good Look at a Something Often Overlooked
A good book, easily read, and with plenty of photographs. This gives an overview of the organisation that developed to support the British Army in the field during World War One. It generally avoids statistics, using instead photographs to illustrate the scale of the effort and particular aspects. The use of short chapters and general layout also makes it easy to read in bursts.
The review of War on Wheels is similar and equally pleasing.
I should not offer only positive reviews for there is a negative one to which I respond after it:
Entertaining reading, but readers who are seriously interested in the mechanisation of the British army in WWII are bound to be disappointed. If you would like to know, for example, what types and how many vehicles an infantry division had in 1940 or in 1944, or how many vehicles of different types were produced and imported during the war, and the policy decisions behind that, you will not find that information here. A more accurate and honest title would have been "Some memories of my father's service with the RAOC". It is as if the author emptied a box full of letters, photos, newspaper clippings etc. that he found in the attic, added some text of his own to place them in some kind of context and then just sent the lot to the publisher, including such irrelevant stuff as patriotic articles from "John Bull Magazine". There are quite a few technical errors too, for example a picture of an AEC Militant Mk 3 recovery vehicle (p. 49) which entered service long after the war, in 1966 to be precise.
I offer a response:
I make it clear in the introduction that the book is about the people who mechanised the army, not the vehicles. It does use my father’s remarkable archive, but at least as much research from other sources including the recollections of ordinary soldiers of the work they did. I thought that quotes from newspapers of the time gave a flavour of the period. I do however apologise for errors.