Birds in the Second World War

We Also Serve

Nicholas Milton

A love of birds has always been an important part of the British way of life but in wartime birds came into their own, helping to define our national identity.
Date Published :
April 2022
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Contributor(s) :
Chris Packham
Language:
English
Illustration :
40 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526794147
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9.1 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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$49.95

Overview
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A love of birds has always been an important part of the British way of life but in wartime birds came into their own, helping to define our national identity. One the most popular bird books ever, Watching Birds, was published in 1940 while songs like There’ll be Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover epitomized the blitz spirit. Birds even featured in wartime propaganda movies like the 1941 classic The First of the Few starring Leslie Howard where they inspired the design of the Spitfire. Along the coast flooding to prevent a German invasion helped the avocet make a remarkable return while the black redstart found an unlikely home in our bombed-out buildings.

As interesting as the birds were some of the people who watched them. Matthew Rankin and Eric Duffey counted seabirds while looking for U-boats. Tom Harrisson, the mastermind behind Mass Observation, watched people ‘as if they were birds’ while POW Guy Madoc wrote a truly unique book on Malayan birds, typed on paper stolen from the Japanese commandant’s office. For Field Marshall Alan Brooke, Britain’s top soldier, filming birds was his way of coping with the continual demands of Winston Churchill. In comparison, Peter Scott was a wildfowler who was roused by Adolf Hitler before the war but after serving with distinction in the Royal Navy became one of the greatest naturalists of his generation.

With a foreword by Chris Packham CBE Birds in the Second World War is the story of how ornithology helped to win the war.

About The Author
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Nicholas Milton is a military and natural historian specializing in the Second World War and conservation who has written for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Independent and Britain at War magazine. His paternal grandfather Herbert Milton served with the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War and as a professional magician and member of the Magic Circle entertained the troops during the Second World War. His maternal grandfather Herbert Sweet fought with The Wiltshire Regiment in Palestine during the First World War and was an Air Raid Precautions warden during the Second World War.

Chris Packham is one of Britain’s most popular conservationists, beloved of millions thanks to his many television appearances and books.

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