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This is a excellent book - which has been written by Sir Arthur " Bomber " Harris ( A.O.C. - in - C. of R.A.F. Bomber Command, 1942 - 1945 ) over the Allied bomber offensive during the Second World War.


Format 20 x 13 x 2 cm
Nbr. de pages 288
Finition Broché
Année d’édition 2005
Langue Anglais
Réédition? Oui
Etat du livre Bon état
Auteur Marshal of the R.A.F. Sir Arthur Harris


Aviation book
Sir Arthur Harris - ’ Bomber ’ Harris - remains the target of criticism and vilification by many, while others believe the contribution he and his men made to victory is grossly undervalued. He led the men of Bomber Command in the face of appalling casualties, had fierce disagreements with higher authority and had a complicated relationship with Winston Churchill. Written soon after the end of the Second World War, this collection of Sir Arthur Harris' memoirs reveals the man behind the Allied bombing offensive that culminated in the destruction of the Nazi war machine, but also many beautiful cities, including Dresden.

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers ’ Bomber, Butcher ’ Harris, 1st Baronet, G.C.B., O.B.E., A.F.C. ( April 13th, 1892 - April 5th, 1984 ) was born at Cheltenham ( Gloucestershire, England ), where his parents were staying while his father George Steel Travers Harris was on home leave from the Indian Civil Service.
With his father in India most of the time, Arthur Harris grew up without a sense of solid roots and belonging ; he spent much of his later childhood with the family of a Kent rector, the Reverend C.E. Graham - Jones, whom he later recalled fondly. Arthur Harris was educated at Allhallows School ( Devon, England ), while his two older brothers were educated at the more prestigious Sherborne ( Dorset, England ) and Eton ( Berkshire, England )... because there was not much money left for number three !
A former Allhallows student, the actor Arthur Chudleigh, often visited the school and gave the boys free tickets to his shows. Arthur Harris received such a ticket in 1909, and went to see the play during his summer holidays. The lead character in the show was a Rhodesian farmer who returned to England to wed, but ultimately fell out with his pompous fiancée and married the more practical housemaid instead. The idea of a country where one was judged on ability rather than class was very inspiring to the adventurous Arthur Harris, who promptly told his father ( who had just retired and returned to England ) that he intended to emigrate to Southern Rhodesia instead of going back to Allhallows for the new term. Harris's father was disappointed, having had in mind a military or civil service career for his son, but reluctantly agreed.
In early 1910, George Harris paid his son's passage on the S.S. Inanda to Beira in Mozambique, from where he travelled by rail to Umtali in Manicaland ( Eastern Province of Zimbabwe ). Arthur Harris earned his living over the next few years mining, coach - driving and farming. He received a more permanent position in November 1913, when he was taken on by Crofton Townsend, a man from near Cork ( Ireland ) who had moved to Rhodesia and founded Lowdale Farm near Mazoe in Mashonaland ( Region in Northern Zimbabwe ) in 1903. Arthur Harris quickly gained his employer's trust, and was made farm manager at Lowdale when Townsend went to visit England for a year in early 1914. Having acquired the skills necessary to ranch successfully in Rhodesia, Arthur Harris decided that he would start his own farm in the country as soon as Townsend returned. He by now regarded himself ’ primarily as a Rhodesian ’, a self - identification he would retain for the rest of his life.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 ; Arthur Harris did not learn of it for nearly a month because he was out in the bush at the time. He felt patriotically compelled to join the war effort. He quickly attempted to join the 1st Rhodesia Regiment raised by the British South Africa Company administration to help put down the Maritz Rebellion in South Africa, but he found that only two positions were available : machine - gunner or bugler. With his background in bugling at Allhallows, he successfully applied for the bugler slot, and was sworn in on October 20th, 1914.
The South - West African Campaign ended in July 1915. 1st Rhodesia Regiment was withdrawn to Cape Town ( South Africa ), to be disbanded ; Arthur Harris was formally discharged on July 31st. He felt he did his part for the Empire, and went back to Rhodesia to resume work at Lowdale. But learning that the war in Europe was going to last much longer than they expected, Arthur Harris sailed for England from Beira at the Company administration's expense in August, a member of a 300 - man party of white Southern Rhodesian war volunteers.
He arrived in October 1915, moved in with his parents in London, and, after unsuccessfully attempting to find a position in first the cavalry, then the Royal Artillery, joined the Royal Flying Corps as a Second Lieutenant on probation on November 6th, 1915. Arthur Harris learned to fly at Brooklands ( Surrey, England ) in late 1915, and, confirmed in his rank, then promoted to First Lieutenant on January 29th, 1916. He apparently served with distinction on the home front, and in France during 1917 as a Flight Commander, and ultimately C.O. of No. 45 Squadron, flying the Sopwith 1½ Strutter and Sopwith Camel. Before he returned to Britain to command No. 44 Squadron on Home Defence duties, Arthur Harris claimed five enemy aircraft destroyed, and was awarded the Air Force Cross ( A.F.C. ) on November 2nd, 1918. Intending to return to Rhodesia one day, Arthur Harris wore a ’ Rhodesia ’ shoulder flash on his uniform. He finished the war a Major.
During the inter - war years, Arthur Harris remained in the newly created Royal Air Force ( R.A.F., April 1st, 1918 ), choosing an air force career over a return to Rhodesia because he and his first wife Barbara just had their first child, and he did not think Barbara would enjoy being a Rhodesian farmer's wife. In 1920, Squadron Leader Arthur Harris was jointly - appointed Station Commander of R.A.F. Digby ( Lincolnshire, England ) and Commander of No. 3 Flying Training School, R.A.F. He worked in different capacities in India, Mesopotamia and Persia. He said of his service in India he became involved in bombing during the usual annual North West Frontier tribesmen trouble.
During the 1920's, he doubted his decision to remain with the R.A.F. rather than going back to Rhodesia ; he submitted his resignation in May 1922, but was ordered to stay. Here are the following postings, awards and promotions that took place between the 1920's and September 1st, 1939 :

Helping devise area bombing in Iraq ( 1923 ).
Back to Great Britain, he then takes command of the first postwar heavy bomber Squadron : No. 58 Squadron ( 1924 ).
Appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire ( O.B.E., June 3rd, 1927 ).
Promoted to Wing Commander ( July 1st, 1927 ).
Attended the Army Staff College at Camberley ( Surrey, England, 1927 - 1929 ).
Takes command of a flying - boat Squadron.
Promoted to Group Captain ( June 30th, 1933 ).
Deputy Director of Plans in the Air Ministry ( 1934 - 1937 ).
Posted to the Middle East Command as a Senior Air Staff Officer ( Egypt ).
Helped the Southern Rhodesian government to set up their air force ( 1936 ).
Promoted to Air Commodore ( 1937 ).
Put in command of No. 4 Bomber Group ( 1938 ).
On mission to the United States.
Posted to Palestine and Trans - Jordan.
Officer commanding the R.A.F. contingent in the area, promoted to Air Vice - Marshal ( 1939 ).

When the Second World War broke out ( September 1st, 1939 ), he returned to Great Britain to command No. 5 Group. Appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on July 11th, 1940, he was made Deputy Chief of the Air Staff the same year. In 1941, he was promoted to Acting Air Marshal.
In 1942, Arthur Harris was appointed Commander - in - Chief ( C. - in - C. ) of R.A.F. Bomber Command, then was advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. Arthur Harris was directed to carry out the task ( Area bombing directive ). It became an important part of the total war waged against German civilians. As production of better aircraft and electronic aids increased, Arthur Harris pressed for raids on a much larger scale, each to use 1,000 aeroplanes. In Operation Millennium, he launched the first R.A.F. ’ thousand bomber raid ’ against the civilians of Cologne ( Köln, Germany ) on the night of May 30th / 31st, 1942. This operation included the first use of a bomber stream, a tactical innovation designed to overwhelm the German defenders of the Kammhuber Line.
Promoted to Acting Air Chief Marshal on March 18th, 1943, Arthur Harris was opposed to ’ Operation Chastise ’, the attack on the German dams which took place on May 16th - 17th, 1943 ; he regarded the raid as a failure and a waste of resources. In 1943, Bomber Command initiated the Battle of Berlin : a series of massive raids on Berlin lasting until March 1944. Arthur Harris sought to duplicate the victory at Hamburg ( the bombing has ignited a firestorm ), but Berlin proved to be a difficult target. Although severe general damage was inflicted, the city was much better prepared than Hamburg, and no firestorm was ignited. Anti - aircraft defences were also extremely effective, and bomber losses were high ; during this time, the British and Commonwealth units lost 1,047 bombers, with a further 1,682 damaged, culminating in the disastrous raid on Nuremberg ( March 30th, 1944 ) with 94 bombers were shot down and 71 damaged, out of 795 aircraft.
In 1944, as a result of these disasters, Arthur Harris was promoted to the substantive rank of Air Marshal, then awarded the Russian Order of Suvorov, First Class on February 29th, 1944, by the Bolshevik government. With the leadup to the D - Day invasions in 1944, Arthur Harris was ordered to switch targets for the French railway network, a switch he protested because he felt it compromised the continuing pressure on German industry, and was using Bomber Command for a purpose it was not designed or suited for. He received a new directive to ensure continuation of a broad strategic bombing scheme as well as adequate bomber support for General Dwight David ’ Ike ’ Eisenhower's ground operations.
After D - Day, with the resumption of the strategic bomber campaign over Germany, Arthur Harris remained wedded to the ineffective area bombardment. In 1944, he was promoted to Air Chief Marshal. In 1945, he received the American Legion of Merit. On February 13th, 1945, the bombing of Dresden by the R.A.F. and U.S.A.A.F. resulting in a lethal firestorm and the deaths of killed at least 25,000 civilians. The culmination of Bomber Command's offensive occurred in March 1945 ; the R.A.F. dropped the highest monthly weight of ordnance in the entire war. The last raid on Berlin took place on the night of April 21st / 22nd, just before the Soviets entered the city center. After that, most of the rest of the attacks made by the R.A.F. were tactical missions.
The last major strategic raid was the destruction of the Norwegian oil refinery in Tønsberg ( Norway ) by a large group of Lancasters on the night of April 25th / 26th.
After the war, Arthur Harris was awarded the Polish Order of Polonia Restituta First Class ( June 12th, 1945 ), advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath ( June 14th, 1945 ) and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross of Brazil ( November 13th, 1945 ). He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the United States ( June 14th, 1946 ) and promoted to Marshal of the Royal Air Force ( January 1st, 1946 ).
Arthur Harris retired on September 15th, 1946.
Bomber Command's crews were denied a separate campaign medal ( despite being eligible for the Air Crew Europe Star and France and Germany Star ) and, in protest at this establishment snub to his men, Arthur Harris refused a peerage in 1946 ; he was the sole Commander - in - Chief not to become a peer.
In 1948, he moved to South Africa, where he managed the South African Marine Corporation ( Safmarine ) from 1946 to 1953. In February 1953, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill ( 1874 - 1965 ), now Prime Minister again, insisted that Arthur Harris accept a baronetcy and he became baronet. In the same year, he returned to the United Kingdom, and lived his remaining years in the Ferry House in Goring - on - Thames ( Oxfordshire, England ), located directly adjacent to the River Thames.
Arthur Harris died eight days before his 92nd birthday, at his home.
( source : Wikipedia )
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