Entries by James Holland

Dick Winters

The main reason for being in Gettysburg was to visit Erik Dorr and his partner Cheryl, who run the truly amazing Gettysburg Museum of History. This is in Baltimore Street right in the very heart of old Gettysburg and is also housed in Erik’s family home – Erik’s forebears have been living there for generations […]

Gettysburg

I was first at Gettysburg some ten years ago – staying there while I was researching at the nearby Army Heritage Centre at Carlisle Barracks, some fifteen miles away from the town. It was November and stupidly, I’d forgotten about Thanksgiving Day, which fell while I was there. Since it was a public holiday, the […]

DUNKIRK: DOES HISTORICAL ACCURACY MATTER?

I’ve just been to a screening of this very exciting new movie by Christopher Nolan. By all accounts, it was a long-time-coming passion project and it’s just fantastic that Nolan, an A-list Hollywood director, should have the clout to persuade a major studio like Warner Bros to back a film that does not have a […]

Battle of Britain Day 76 Years On

Even today, we still tend to paint a picture of plucky little Britain against mighty Germany in 1940 and the myth persists, incredibly, that the RAF was on its last legs in early September and that had it not been for the Luftwaffe switching tactics and attacking London and cities instead of airfields, it would […]

Wine & War: Sicily

Sicily: an island of myths and legends, and of ancient ruins; a land that has been repeatedly invaded and conquered, that has inspired travellers and adventurers, great artists and writers.  It is a land of mystery and magic, of the Mafia and of revolutionaries, and a place where the Arab world meets the European.   It […]

Dunkirk 1940: Hitler’s Halt Order

Just why Hitler gave his infamous order to halt the advancing panzer divisions on 24 May 1940 has been the subject of speculation and controversy ever since.  But I reckon I’m pretty sure how and why it happened in this short extract from my book, The Battle of Britain…   Momentous decisions were now about to made […]

General Mark Clark & the Fall of Rome

On the whole, historians have not been kind to General Mark Clark and his handling of the Italian campaign. He wavered at Salerno, say his detractors, sent the Texans of the US 36th Division to needless deaths across the River Rapido, and most heinous of all, disobeyed General Alexander’s orders to cut off the retreating […]

Naples ’44 & the Warnings of History

One of the things that always astonishes me is just how little our politicians know their history.  Yet no-one can reasonably deny the critical importance of having a knowledge of our past, as it allows us to make sense of the present and prepare for the future.  This was something that Churchill, for example, understood […]

Ken Adam: Oscar-Winning Set Designer & German RAF Typhoon Pilot

Normandy, August 1944. In the six weeks since the pilots of 609 Squadron had moved to France, they had become used to the very different surroundings and living conditions in which they now found themselves. Gone were the days of large, properly built airfields, complete with hangars, repair-workshops, living quarters and, most importantly, a comfortable […]