Entries by James Holland

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 […]

Germany & the Battle of Britain

  I originally wrote this for BBC History Magazine, but a healthy Twitter debate has prompted me to post it here as well. On 14 August, 1940, 87 Squadron had been scrambled at around 4.30pm, and rushing to their Hurricanes had quickly got airborne and started speeding towards Weymouth on the Dorset coast. ‘One hundred […]

Gunther Rall

I was very lucky to have the chance to meet Gunther Rall at his home near Bad Reichenhall in Bavaria before he passed away.  Rall is the third highest scoring ace of all time with an astonishing 275 victories to his name.  He was a Battle of France, Battle of Britain and Eastern Front veteran […]

Battle of Britain Day

Seventy-five years ago today, fierce aerial battles were taking place over London and southern England, and later that evening, after the fighting was over and there was still no sign of a German invasion, reporters on the news announced some 185 enemy planes had been shot down. To all who heard it, and a large […]

RAF Museum Battle of Britain Weekend

The brilliant RAF Museum is holding a special Battle of Britain 75 Weekend, with all sorts of things going on: fly pasts by the BBMF, storytelling for children, reenactments, hangar tours and even special talks – and I’m giving two of them. One was yesterday, the other at Cosford on Sunday at 11.45am after the […]

Air Power Over Normandy

This June, the Chalke Valley History Festival is marking the seventieth anniversary of D-Day with a number of talks and displays, but also an air show spread over both days of the weekend.  D-Day may have been launched on 6th June 1944, but for the Allied air forces, the preparations for the invasion began a […]

Scottish Independence – A Warning From History

It worries me that we here in England are taking the chilling prospect of Scottish independence far too casually.  Ask most people south of Berwick and they’ll shrug and make a comment about being not really bothered or worse, good riddance.  In terms of press coverage, the focus has been financial, and in comment piece […]