Book Review Dunkirk to D-DayThe Men and Women of the RAOC - Philip Hamlyn Williams

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by von Poop, Dec 1, 2021.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Dunkirk to D-Day

    The Men and Women of the RAOC and Re-Arming the British Army


    By Philip Hamlyn Williams
    Imprint: Pen & Sword History
    Pages: 232
    Illustrations: 40 black and white illustrations
    ISBN: 9781526794307
    Published: 13th May 2021
    Dunkirk to D-Day

    Many with an interest in the military production & supply efforts in the first half of the C20th will have encountered PHW's books. His 'War on Wheels' is a fine survey of WW2 industrial endeavours (which has cost me quite a bit extra just in acquiring pamphlets & company publications I'd normally never have heard of without seeing them mentioned there), and his 'Ordnance' title covering the first war seems very well-reviewed (though I've not read it in full, merely glanced).

    This, isn't that.

    His father, Major General Sir Leslie Williams was a leading light in 'Military supply', Director & Controller of Ordnance, also later a Director at the Rootes Group, & his mother was the General's secretary/PA.
    They left behind albums of their travels, which form the basis for this book.

    I don't know if the marketing department got involved in choosing the title (as they often apparently do), but it's certainly a touch misleading here.
    It is about 'The men & women of the RAOC', but only a very specific higher echelon segment. His parents, their friends & associates.
    As for 'Re-arming the British Army', yes, that's there too, but not in any truly connected way. There's very interesting nuggets, but only really where they relate to his parents passage through the world, presumably fed by the albums. The two subjects woven together so closely that I became distracted.
    I'd think from the cover/title it might be something very different, expecting a more 'solid' account of supply, but I suppose he did that in War on Wheels already.

    It's a biography of a couple, a tribute to what they 'did in the war'.
    It's hard to recommend it as military history, though I'd absolutely stand by there being enough to justify anyone truly interested in supply giving it a go, even as a springboard to further enquiry on some technical/business issues covered, but... it isn't quite what the marketing presents it as.
    My old man, a hardened cynic & engineer (and the reason it's taken so long to get a review done... he nicked it on seeing the cover), described it as 'weird & flowery'.
    I wouldn't go that far, but do see what he meant.

    Interested in WW2 production & supply?
    Get 'War on Wheels' by the same author - it's a cracker.

    Cheers to P&S for the review copy, & polite apologies to PHW (The most genteel Twitterer) for not really enjoying his parental tribute

    Chris C, 4jonboy and Markyboy like this.

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