'Ops' Victory At All Costs: Operations over Hitler's Reich with the crews of Bomber Command 1939-1945 (Book) Review
by Steve Wright
Publisher: Tattered Flag
Author: Andrew R B Simpson
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The cover of the latest book from Andrew Simpson proclaims: ‘Their war – their words’ and your involuntary reaction is to think, ‘Not more of the same archive accounts.’ But a check through the acknowledgements and list of ‘Unpublished sources’ sets your mind at rest. This is a book which has been crafted carefully around the experiences of men, who took the time, and opportunity, or whose families did, to contact Simpson. ‘Ops’ is also a labour of love; running as a thread through the unfolding narrative are the experiences of Laurie Simpson, the author’s father; it is dovetailed with others into chapters which show both considered research and consideration for the reader, particularly one who does not have the knowledge of the history and organisation of Bomber Command or its operations.
The book begins with some ‘back stories’, which help the reader to understand why the men did what they did: as aircrew and ground crew. The story then develops along a chronological line, covering training, life on squadron, ops, escape and evasion and life as a POW; each liberably ‘salted’ with personal accounts to make a very readable book.
Simpson concludes with an interesting thought; the book is incomplete. By that, he means the story can only truly be told by someone who has lived it, but his hope is that he has provided an account which will satisfy the reader. Well, I for one, am satisfied and the book will be on my ‘go to’ shelf.
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