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Friday, 14 June 2013

"The Guns of the North-East" by Joe Foster


Recently I wrote about my plans to visit more fortresses in Britain and my reading of "Fortress Britain" by Anthony Saunders. I came across this book by Joe Foster whilst looking for further reading, as the York University of the Third Age (U3A) Military History Group were planning a visit to Heugh Battery in Hartlepool.

The book covers the East coast of England from Bamborough to the Humber, the forts and batteries built and the raising of the volunteer, militia artillery units for the period 1850 - 1956 to man the forts, along with infantry and yeomanry. This was a separate strategy to that of Southern England known as the Palmerston Forts, although both strategies suffered from an initial burst of enthusiasm but then prolonged budget restrictions.

The book has five chapters:-

1.History, from establishment to disbandment.

2. Coast Artillery, the cannons installed.

3. Gunners, their recruitment, from Victorian period, through WW1  and WW2 and some personal accounts.

4. The Bombardment of Hartlepool, by ships of the German Imperial Navy in December 1914 and the exchanges with Heugh Battery.

5. Gazetteer.

This is a good book that sets the strategy of coastal defence in the UK in a local context. Also the technical aspects are very well explained, such as the difference between MLR (Muzzle Loading Rifled) and RML (Rifled Muzzle Loading). The gazetteer is going to be very useful for planning some outings, I am looking forward to it.

Next - in between walks, I must get back to some French History, I have a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte and two further Napoleonic period histories plus I have found of two books I have wanted to read for some time, Anthony Clayton's "France, Soldiers and Africa" and Lee Kennett's "The French Forces in America 1780 - 1783". Still waiting for the copy of Stephen Brumwell's biog of Wolfe from Amazon UK.

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