Entries by James Holland

The Me109 v Spitfire Debate Keeps Going

Or rather, it does for some but not for me!  I’ve recently written an article for Fly Past Magazine comparing the two marks that were available in 1940, the Me109E and the Spitfire Mk I, in which I came down in favour of the Messerschmitt.  This has prompted a number of letters to Fly Past’s […]

The Dates of the Battle of Britain

Someone has sent a message wondering about the official dates of the Battle of Britain and asking how it was that these were agreed upon.  He suggested that because of the Blitz which continued into May 1941, we should look at the Battle as being longer than has been traditional.

The Wrecks of Dunkirk

I’ve just come back from Dunkirk where we’ve been filming for the new Battle of Britain documentary I’m working on and got up horribly early to catch the wrecks that can still be seen at low tide.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t early enough and already as I began a piece the tide was snapping at my […]

S 130 – The Sole Survivor

I had a fascinating day last week down at Millport, near Plymouth, where the world’s last S-Boat is housed and where it is, thankfully, being painstakingly restored.  I’m making a film about the Battle of Britain at the moment for the BBC and so we were down them filming it and getting the expert views […]

The Eternal Debate

Since the end of the Battle of Britain, there has been     almost endless discussion about the various merits of the fighters involved. Most conclude, however, that, on balance, there was not much in it between the Spitfire Mk I and the Me 109E series. On paper, the maximum speeds of the two were […]

Malta Memoir To Be Republished

I have received a number of comments about Denis Barnham, artist and former Spitfire pilot, who flew with 601 Squadron over Malta at the height of the siege in April-June 1942.  Denis survived the war and with the help of the diary he kept during his time on the island, later wrote a fabulous memoir […]

New Battle of Britain Book Signed Off

I’ve just finished writing my new book about the Battle of Britain, which has taken me the best part of three years to put together.  I’ve always been amazed by how often aspects of the Second World War quickly became the acceped way of regarding things and have been continued by historians ever since.  The […]

The Last Great Hero

The Extraordinary Life of Field Marshal Alexander When I was a young boy, I used regularly to get a magazine called Look and Learn.  In one of the editions there was a large article on Britain during the Second World War and included circular head and shoulder illustrations of Britain’s war leaders.  Montgomery was one […]

Excellent New Book on Nazi Hunting

The perceived wisdom about Nazi hunting goes something like this: after the war, elaborate rat-lines called ‘Odessa’ and ‘Spider’ were established that enabled SS men to escape from the clutches of the Allies. Most ended up in South America, living in luxury haciendas thanks to Nazi loot. However, the hunt continued, with dogged investigators tracking […]

Win a Private Spitfire Display

Chalke Valley Cricket Club in south-west Wiltshire and the Kent Spitfire have become surprising partners as they launch a nationwide competition for a lucky winner to have a private aerobatic display by this most iconic of wartime aircraft at a time and place of their choosing. The competition aims to raise money to send the […]

The Panzer VI – But Not The Tiger

In The Odin Mission I refer to a Panzer Mk VI, which has prompted quite a response from keen-eyed observers of the Second World War, all pointing out the Mk VI Tiger tank did not come into service until 1942 and therefore could not have been in Norway in 1940.  However, there were earlier panzers […]