Diary of a Red Devil


€ 29,95

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Many books have been written about the Second World War and the majority of them either concentrate on a particular battle, campaign or unit. Individual accounts are certainly in a minority and those from the lower ranks even more scarcer. Helion and Co Ltd are therefore pleased to announce the publication of Diary of A Red Devil in paperback. It relates the war time experiences of a young man, Albert Blockwell from the north-east of England, who in February 1940 was called up for service with the Army. Initially conscripted into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and trained as a vehicle mechanic, he was then posted in March 1940 to a pre-war Territorial unit - The 7th Kings Own Scottish Borderers, then a home defence unit based near London. His diary is a most interesting account of a young vehicle mechanic who also had to learn to be a infantry soldier. Albert remained with this unit for all his war-time service, later going to the Shetland Islands when the 7th KOSB were part of OSDEF (Orkney and Shetlands Defence Force). Then in late 1943 much to their surprise the unit was posted to Lincolnshire to become the third infantry unit in the 1st Airlanding Brigade then in the process of returning from Italy with the rest of the 1st Airborne Division. Swapping their glengarries for red berets Albert and his comrades had to adapt to their new way of getting to war by glider. The diary continues with a down to earth account of the highs and lows of the next few months. Then in September 1944 Albert flew to Holland on Operation Market-Garden and his account (written in PoW camp) describes the savage nine days fighting at Arnhem from the slit trench level. Taken prisoner on the last day his account then describes the spartan life in PoW camp without pulling any punches. Albert Blockwell was born in 1919 in Stockton. He enjoyed his trade as a mechanic, then enlisted in the Army advancing his skills. As time progressed, his training became more vigorous and he adapted to the rigours and hardships which prepared him for the battle to come. Manoeuvres took him all over the country, including the Orkney and Shetland Isles. Finally, he participated in the Battle of Arnhem, where all his training was put into practice. The skill, stamina and endurance needed to survive those hard times paid off when he was one of the lucky survivors of that battle. He was however, taken prisoner and endured incredible hardships until he finally escaped. Once home he married his sweetheart, Dorothy, and lived a contented life with her in the North-East and in Devon. He was cremated on his 55th wedding anniversary.
Helion and Company
192 pp.
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