#BlogTour #IWM Mailed Fist by John Foley

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Mailed Fist by John Foley, it’s another novel in the Wartime Classics series by the Imperial War Museum. Mailed Fist will cost £8.99. It is published by IWM and can be pre-ordered at their online shop here: Mailed-Fist-(IWM-Wartime-Classic)

Based on the author’s own experience with the British Army, Mailed Fist is reprinted in a new edition including an introduction from IWM, putting the work into historical context and shining a light on this fascinating experience of the Second World War.

About the Author

Major John Foley (1917–1974) was a British Army officer, author and broadcaster. He served in the British Army from 1936 until 1954 and attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and passed out from officer training in 1943. Subsequently, Foley became a troop commander in the 107th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps (King’s Own).

He was awarded an MBE for his service with the unit during the North-West Europe campaign. He then became a military reporter and later worked in the Directorate of Public Relations at the War Office.

About the book

In April 1943, newly commissioned John Foley is posted to command Five Troop and their trusty Churchill tanks Avenger, Alert, and Angler – thus begins his initiation into the Royal Armoured Corps. Covering the trials of training, embarkation to France and battle experience through Normandy, the Netherlands, the Ardennes campaign and into Germany, Foley’s intimate and detailed account follows the fate of this group of men in the latter stages of the Second World War: If this book can be said to be a history of anything, it is a history of Five Troop. Not of the squadron, or of the regiment. 

If anybody wants to know what happened in other troops, or in other squadrons, it’s all recorded painstakingly in the War Diaries and lodged in a Records Office somewhere.

Review

To get the real gist of where Foley is coming from in this largely biographical and only lightly fictional story about Five Troop and his experiences with said troop, is the fact he doesn’t present it as an experience of the regiment or squadron. It’s more a band of brothers excerpt – one small moment of many between a few.

I think that in itself is indicative of what Foley wanted to share with his readers. The comprehension and acknowledgement of individuals in the vast numbers of participants. Small moments of brotherhood and bonding, of acceptance and survival.

One of the most poignant and prophetic sentences in the book is the author referencing the finishing touches being made to the atom bomb – ‘starting a chain reaction which hasn’t finished yet.’ He couldn’t have been more correct, we have lived in the shadow of this destructive invention and the consequences of its potential ever since. I think our current situation right now, dealing with a megalomaniacal dictator, who wouldn’t think twice about becoming a continuation of said chain reaction.

It’s a piece of war literature that has faded into the background, like many others of great importance – I can only commend the Imperial War Museum for reprinting and introducing all of these important works to new generations.

Buy Mailed Fist at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏:  Imperial War Museum pub date 21 April 2022. Buy at Imperial War Museum.

#Blogtour #IWM Mr Bunting at War by Robert Greenwood

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Mr Bunting at War by Robert Greenwood, it’s another novel in the Wartime Classics series by the Imperial War Museum. Mr Bunting at War will cost £8.99. It is published by IWM and can be pre-ordered at their online shop here: Mr-Bunting-at-War-(IWM-Wartime-Classic)

Written in 1941, the novel itself is very much of its time and thus extremely patriotic in its depiction of the reaction to the Blitz, as well as showing Mr Bunting’s own fears.

Both the book and the film were propagandist, depicting an ordinary family living on the outskirts of London and ‘sticking it out’ during the Blitz. However they also importantly demonstrate the significance of the home front in the wider narrative of the Second World War; a microcosm of suffering and sacrifice, and an illustration of the resilience it takes to make it through. – Alan Jeffreys, 2022

About the Author

Robert Greenwood ((1897 – 1981) was a novelist and writer. His first novel depicted the family and working life of the eponymous Mr Bunting (1940). His next novel, Mr Bunting at War (1941), continued this story in the first two years of the Second World War.

Mr Bunting at War was subsequently made into a film the following year entitled Salute John Citizen (1942), which proved tremendously popular at the box office. Greenwood’s other novel about the war was The Squad Goes Out (1943), which depicted the work of a voluntary ambulance squad during the London Blitz. 

Greenwood wrote eleven novels in total as well as a number of short stories, including Mr Bunting in the Promised Land (1949) which tells the story of the Bunting family in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. He died in 1981.

About the book

George Bunting, businessman, husband and father, lives a quiet life at home in Labournam Villa in Essex, reading about the progress of the war in his trusty newspaper and heading to work every day at the same time to the warehouse where he has been employed for his entire adult life.

Viewed with an air of amusement by his children, Mr Bunting’s war efforts subsist mainly of ‘digging for victory’ and erecting a dugout in the garden. But as the Second World War continues into the summer of 1940, the Battle of Britain rages in the skies and the bombs begin to rain down on London, this bumbling ‘everyman’ is forced to confront the true realities if the conflict. He does so with remarkable stoicism, imbuing him with a quiet dignity.

Review

I kinda think this is an interesting one, especially when you read the introduction. Given the timeline of Britain first being in the so-called Phoney War, ergo becoming perhaps a little complacent and thinking that everything would be an easy ride, then entering the Second World War in earnest with the subsequent losses and difficulties – it puts this story into perspective.

Essentially a propaganda piece to keep moral high and present the kind of enduring, strong and fearless family, who live duty to country before all other things – what could be more convincing to the readers. In the first year of engagement the in country fatalities were higher than out of country. The importance of people left at home keeping everything running and support systems in place was paramount to the defense strategy.

Even taking all of the above into consideration, the story of the Bunting family and very much Mr Bunting, is also one about coping mechanisms. Often Mr Bunting reacts with denial to the events happening around him. Living in a bubble of self-deception is a way of keeping the trauma, the fear and the reality of their situation at bay. 

Keeping a stiff upper-lip and a ‘everything for my country’ stance is perhaps also the only way to keep the pain of personal tragedy from breaking an individual.

Buy Mr Bunting at War at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏:  Imperial War Museum pub date 21 April 2022. Buy at Imperial War Museum.

#BlogTour To All the Living by Monica Felton

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour To All the Living by Monica Felton.

In September 2021, IWM will publish another novel in their Wartime Classics Series which was launched in September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total number of novels in the series to eleven. Each has been brought back into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict first hand.  

To All the Living by Monica Felton is published by IWM and can be pre-ordered here at the online IWM shop: www.iwmshop.org.uk/pg/114/IWM-Wartime-Classics 

About the Author

Monica Felton (1906 – 1970) was a feminist, socialist, historian, peace activist and a pioneering proponent of town planning.  She went to University College, Southampton and then did a Phd at the LSE.  In 1937 she was elected a member of the London County Council representing St Pancras South West.  During the Second World War she served in the Ministry of Supply, an experience she reflected in To All the Living.  In 1942 she became a Clerk of the House of Commons. 

After the war she became involved in town planning, serving as Chair for the Peterlee and Stevenage Development Corporations.  However, she was fired from this post after taking an unauthorized trip to North Korea on behalf of the Women’s International Democratic Federation in 1951.  On her return from this trip she accused American troops of atrocities and British complicity.  There was a media and establishment backlash and even accusations of treason. As a result she became increasingly isolated in Britain and moved to India in 1956.  She died in Madras (modern day Chennai) in 1970.

About the book

First published in 1945, To All the Living takes place in a munitions factory throughout 1941 in Blimpton, a place ‘so far from anywhere as to be, for all practical purposes, nowhere.’   The novel gives a lively account of the experiences of a group of men and women in the factory from both a top down and bottom up perspective, detailing the triumphs and tragedies of a diverse list of characters.  It is wide-ranging in the themes it touches on, including class, sexism, socialism, fear of communism, workers’ rights, anti-semitism and xenophobia.  Much of it was based on the author’s own experiences in the Ministry of Supply in the first years of the war, and it is one of the best depictions of factory life during wartime, providing the reader with a fascinating insight into this vital aspect of Britain’s home front.

Factory work, as depicted in the novel, could be exhausting and repetitive, with workers often receiving low pay.  Initially work was on a voluntary basis which meant there was always a shortage of labour.  As the war progressed, conscription for women was introduced in December 1941 to help stem the shortages.  By 1945, 6.7 million women were contributing to the war effort out of a population of 48 million with a further 2.5 million in the voluntary sector.  Only the Soviet Union mobilized a higher percentage of women for the war effort and the novel reflects the experiences of a tiny proportion of these women.

The work undertaken by women at munitions factories will also be explored in IWM’s new Second World War Galleries with personal items belonging to a worker at the Leeds based Blackburn Aircraft Factory on display for the first time when they open in October of this year.

Review

Griselda Green becomes the face of munition factory workers, especially the women. The fragile balance of power, being the cog in the wheel of destruction and the crossing of boundaries when it comes to relationships, and whether the ideology contradicts and dampens said relationships.

Felton was a Jane Fonda of her era. A woman with an ideology, which was in direct contradiction to what the majority considered to be patriotic, hence the accusations of being a traitor to her country and people. A woman synonymous with fighting the injustice she perceives by the US and the complicit British.

I think it’s fair to say that her own experiences during the war, which is probably what started her drive towards her political, economic and social ideologies. The injustices, the underlying sense of betrayal and abuse of power by the top echelon – the system seeped in the archaic rules of the patriarchy. All this and more is reflected in this story. 

It also captures a part of wartime that is usually glossed over as the focus tends to be on action at the front, destruction and spydom, despite the fact the munition factories and workers were part of the integral structure of the war fight. I can’t repeat enough how much I love the fact the Imperial War Museum is bringing all these important books back to the forefront of people’s minds.

Buy To All the Living at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Imperial War Museum; published in Paperback 23rd September 2021 – £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

About the Imperial War Museums – IWM 

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast. 

#BlogTour #WartimeClassics Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes, it’s another novel in the Wartime Classics series by the Imperial War Museum. Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes will be on sale 20th May 2021; cost £8.99. It is published by IWM and can be pre-ordered at their online shop here: https://shop.iwm.org.uk/wartime-classics

In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics Series which was launched in September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total number of novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict first hand.

IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

About the Author

Anthony Rhodes (1916 – 2004) served with the British Army in France during the so-called ‘Phoney War’ and was evacuated from Dunkirk in May 1940. In the latter part of the war he was sent to Canada as a camouflage officer and was invalided out of the Army in 1947 having served for 12 years.

After the conflict he enjoyed a long academic and literary career and wrote on various subjects, including the 1956 Hungarian Revolution for the Daily Telegraph and well-regarded histories of the Vatican. 

About the book

First published in 1942, Sword of Bone is a lightly fictionalised memoir based on Anthony Rhodes’ own experiences during the Second World War – firstly during the so-called ‘Phoney War’ from 1939 – 40, followed by the terror of the evacuation of Dunkirk. Shortly after war was declared, he was sent to France serving with the British Army where his days were filled with billeting, friendships and administration – the minutiae of Army life. 

Apart from a visit to the Maginot Line, the conflict seems a distant prospect. It is only in the Spring of 1940 that the true situation becomes clear – the Belgian, British armies and some French divisions are ‘now crowded into a small pocket in the North of France’. The men are ordered to retreat to the coast and the beaches of Dunkirk where they face a desperate and frightening wait for evacuation.

The ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk was a brilliantly improvised naval operation that extracted more than 338,000 men from the Dunkirk beaches and brought them safely back to England. Some 850 vessels, including channel steamers and fishing boats, took part in this, Operation ‘Dynamo’. The final pages of the novel outline Rhodes’ experiences of the chaos of the evacuation where the scenes are depicted in vivid and terrifying detail.

Review

I think what Rhodes does really well and in a very subtle way is create the actual comparison between the Phoney war and the complacent attitude, and the horrific reality when the war started in earnest. A day in life gives a Kodak moment of life for men who created bonds, friendships, but were unaware of what was heading their way.

Around 850 vessels took part in Operation Dynamo and managed to extract more than 338000 men. I agree with Alan Jeffreys that the whole idea of the evacuation, and the way civilians and military men came together in such a brave way, was quintessentially British.

Rhodes not only pinpoints the way the men experienced those days, but also how it happened. The strategic importance of the troops being funneled into a small vulnerable area and why the Germans were determined to achieve their objective. He also shines a light on the bravery of those people who would not be deterred by danger, trauma and even military orders. Returning over and over again to save men trapped in a no win and almost certain death situation.

More importantly the silent desperation of the men on the beach being ordered to queue up and wait their turn – very British – and the occasional disruptions. All of this sounds so normal and indeed Rhodes describes it with an almost unnatural calm, which I guess you can when you’re writing it and are no longer in the moment. The truth is they were under constant attack and seeing their fellow comrades be killed.

Rhodes has a writing voice with a certain calmness and factual element to it, which lends itself to understanding and envisaging everything without the emotional layer, however one does wonder whether it’s because he managed to take a step back from the trauma he also must have endured.

Buy Sword of Bone at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in Paperback 20th May 2021 – £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

On the Imperial war Museum – IWM

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

#BlogTour #WartimeClassics Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis, it’s another novel in the Wartime Classics series by the Imperial War Museum. Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis will be on sale 20th May 2021; cost £8.99. Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis is published by IWM and can be pre-ordered at their online shop here: https://shop.iwm.org.uk/wartime-classics 

In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics series which was launched in September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict firsthand.

First published in 1944 and set over the course of one night in 1942, the story follows the fate of six crew members of a Wellington bomber ‘P for Pathfinder’ thrown together by chance from different corners of the world. They each reflect on the paths of their own lives, as they embark on a fateful mission deep into the heart of Nazi Germany. Cecil Lewis’ novel examines the life of every man in turn, rendering a moving account of each as not merely a nameless crew member, but as an individual with a life lived, ‘a life precious to some, or one… these men with dreams and hopes and plans of things to come.”

Cecil Lewis was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of pilots to fly, including his own son. It was while doing this training that he wrote Pathfinders. Pupils were graded by the time it took them to fly solo – the best became fighters and then bombers. The RAF’s Bomber Command was the only branch of the armed forces that could take direct action against Germany and in 1942 the strategic air offensive changed from precision to area bombing where whole cities were targeted in order to destroy factories as well as the morale of those who worked in them. 

IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

About the Author

Cecil Lewis (1898 – 1997) was a British fighter ace in the First World War and his memoir Sagittarius Rising became a classic of the literature from that war, considered by many to be the definitive account of aerial combat. He was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of pilots to fly, including his own son. 

After the war he was one of the founding executives of the BBC and enjoyed friendships with many of the creative figures of the day, including George Bernard Shaw, winning an Academy Award for co-writing the 1938 film adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion. He had a long and varied career but retained a passion for flying all his life. In 1969 he sailed a boat to Corfu where he spent the remainder of his life, dying two months short of his 99th birthday. He was the last surviving British fighter ace of the First World War. 

About the book

The ‘pathfinders’ of the story were needed because often the bombers could not find the towns and cities they were destined to attack at night, let alone the industrial centres within. The crew used coloured marker flares to guide the bombers to their targets and the crews selected (often from the USA, Canada and NZ as well as Britain) were the best night flying crews who were able to find the target unaided. As a pilot who took part in both World Wars, Cecil Lewis brings his unique experience to bear, shining a light on this vital and sometimes contested aspect of Britain’s Second World War focusing on the sacrifice made by the Allied airmen it depicts.

Review

This is more of an introspective character driven read, as opposed to men in the midst of traumatic warfare or under fire. This depicts a single night experienced by each crew member of a Wellington bomber, based on the experiences of Cecil Lewis, who was a WW1 fighter pilot.

And it’s also each person revisiting their lives, but not per se to ponder the why or where. It’s more of a general glimpse of the individuality of each of them. Not just names or ranks. A human being with a family, friends, a story and a whole life before and ahead of them. Or not, as was the reality for the majority.

Given the fact Lewis is known for writing the 1938 film adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion, if you view the Pathfinders from that perspective it’s easy to imagine a stage or film setting. It explains the walk through memories, and the distinctive and individualistic approach to the trauma. It gives a voice to each person instead of one voice for many under the umbrella of war trauma and experiences. 

I’m actually quite surprised how often I am asked to recommend books in the war genre and the Wartime Classics are especially popular. When the IWM started republishing these classics I found a whole bunch of readers to share them with and the fact the paperbacks are also aesthetically pleasing to the eye is an added bonus.

Buy Pathfinders at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in Paperback 20th May 2021 –  £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#WartimeClassics #BlogTour Green Hands by Barbara Whitton

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for another book reprinted and published by the  Imperial War Museum.

The Wartime Classics Series was launched by the Imperial War Museum in September 2019 to great acclaim. The novels were all written either during or just after the Second World War and are currently out of print. Following the IWM’s commitment to tell the stories of those who experienced conflict first hand, each novel is written directly from the author’s own experience and takes the reader right into the heart of the battle or their experience of war, which doesn’t always include combat.

About the Author

Margaret Hazel Watson (writing under the pseudonym Barbara Whitton) was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1921. She was educated at the Church High Girls School in Newcastle, and later sent to St Leonards School in St Andrews. Due to study Art in Paris, her training was curtailed by the outbreak of the Second World War.

Having volunteered for the Women’s Land Army (WLA) in 1939, she worked as a Land Girl for around a year before moving to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) and later joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) as a driver, where she remained for the duration of the war. Her novel Green Hands is a fictionalised account of her time spent as a Land Girl, detailing the back-breaking hard work and intensity of her experience with good humour and an enchanting lightness of touch. During her time with the ATS she met her husband Pat Chitty and they were married in 1941. After the war, she wrote a number of accounts of her wartime experience and retained an interest in art, literature and horticulture throughout her life. She died in 2016.

Buy Green Hands at Amazon Uk

About the book

It is 1943, and a month into their service as Land Girls, Bee, Anne and Pauline are dispatched to a remote farm in rural Scotland. Here they are introduced to the realities of ‘lending a hand on the land’, as back-breaking work and inhospitable weather mean they struggle to keep their spirits high.

Soon one of the girls falters, and Bee and Pauline receive a new posting to a Northumberland dairy farm. Detailing their friendship, daily struggles and romantic intrigues with a lightness of touch, Barbara Whitton’s autobiographical novel paints a sometimes funny, sometimes bleak picture of time spent in the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War.

Review

This story is a fictional account based on the real experiences of Margaret Watson, during World War 2. In 1943 the 17000 women who had already volunteered to help on the homefront were supplemented by adding conscription to the mix. This meant single women had to play their part in winning or fighting the war.

I think we can agree that no matter whether they opted to join the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force), ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service), WRNS ( Women’s Royal Naval Service) – work in a wartime factory or join the Land Girls as a member of WLA (Women’s Land Army) – the propaganda looks and looked different from the reality.

Even now when I look at the posters and literature I can absolutely see the nostalgic feeling, but most importantly the emotions of pride and sense of belonging it would have evoked. The emotional bond and thread it would have created between the men giving and risking their lives for their country, and those left behind doing their part.

If anything at all Bee’s story, and indeed that of her friends, serves to prove how hard it actually was, and that it wasn’t the way it is often portrayed on television. As jolly young women with headscarves doing their bit and making great lasting friendships and romances at the same time.

Instead it was hard labour and environments full of misogynists, chauvinists and sexist men, who were perhaps disappointed at their own homeland role instead of being overseas with their fellow brothers.

I really enjoyed this eye-opening look at an experience that is always made to look romantic, fun and something every girl would sign-up for – the propaganda worked I’d say. It’s important the women played their part and proved equality isn’t or wasn’t a fictional prospect, although they had to return to secondary roles after the war ended, but it is equally important that their roles are portrayed and written about in a truthful manner.

Buy Green Hands at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Imperial War Museum; pub date 10 Sept. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of these Wartime Classics – Warriors for the Working Day, PatrolEight Hours from England, Trial by Battle and From the City, From the Plough.

Buy Warriors for the Working Day by Peter Elstob

Buy Patrol by Fred Majdalany

Buy Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle.

Buy Trial by Battle by David Piper.

Buy From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron.

About the Imperial War Museums – IWM

‘IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, IWM’s flagship branch that recently transformed with new, permanent and free First World War Galleries alongside new displays across the iconic Atrium to mark the Centenary of the First World War; IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.’