Review by Wing Commander Kenneth H. Wallis
I sent to Wing Commander Kenneth H. Wallis MBE, DEng(he), PhD(hc), CEng, FSETP, FInstTA(hc), RAF (Ret’d) a copy of my two
new books, those being ….. TOP SECRET, RAF Barnham & I and THE WAR IN ITALY 1942 – 1945; and
Told him to read them and then give me his honest opinion.
In Wingco Wallis’s 5th paragraph he refers to his time in the USAF
Strategic Air Command and that is covered in ‘The Cold War’ chapter – page 55.
Ken also recalls seeing Tabun demonstrated on a
poor goat just after the war; that being the Second World War. About Tabun you will find in the ‘Lone Wolf’ chapter – page 47.
Ken’s reference to Air Dog Blaze you will find in ‘Most Difficult Mission’ chapter – page 130. And, having read same, you will
understand why Ken gave Blaze a mention, and why where he did so.
The following is his review that he sent to me on the 9th October 2009 in longhand.
First, very very many thanks indeed for the two fine pieces of your work you so kindly sent to me.
I have just read them both and I can only have a slight idea of the immense amount of work and research you had undertaken to produce them.
‘TOP SECRET, RAF Barnham & I’ is a very special book, which will be of very great interest to some readers who like to learn of some of our very secret commitments in World War 2.
As you know, I was one of those who had had to practice spraying what could have been ‘Mustard Gas’ from ‘Lysanders’ and ‘Wellingtons’.
It’s good we never had to use it, as also it was good not to receive a message to attack an allocated target in Russia with the A-Bomb we always had in a ‘B-36’ in Strategic Air Command USAF in the late Fifties.
I have strong memories of the Chemical and Biological Research Station at Porton Down, not only when spraying something there from a ‘Lysander’ but also ‘Tabun’ demonstrated on a poor goat, just after the war.
You were obviously in a unique position in your time at Barnham and, but for you, that important piece of history would have been lost for ever.
I was so pleased to take the photos of the Site from the air, in its present state, largely because of my memories of the possible use of ‘Mustard Gas’ (against the Geneva Convention). And your Special involvement.
Your, ‘The War in Italy 1942 – 1945’ also brought back many strong memories, but I also learned an enormous amount more.
I just cannot imagine how much time and effort you must have put into recording all that knowledge of events.
As with the Barnham story, without your immense efforts the very detailed history and personal accounts of the war in Italy would never have been recorded.
It would now be too late to start writing that history because so few would be surviving today who had memories of those times.
They are both fine examples of you as a very Special Author, one who knows from first-hand knowledge.
The War in Italy certainly brought back many a memory, when at 37 Squadron, Tortorella, if one had a few days leave Officers would stay at the Hotel Coccumella at Sorrento (Is it Sorrento Piano, also?).
At the hotel the staff would proudly tell you that it was there that Lord Nelson had had Lady Hamilton!
There were so many memories of the other places that I recall visiting in 1944, mostly by hitch-hiking. Bari, Termoli, Ortona, Cassino and, of course Naples are places of memory.
I have still not managed to acquire any formal technical information on the dreadful ‘rodded bombs’ we were dropping on the Anzio Beachhead Area early in 1944, though some who served with the RAF in North Africa and Italy have strong memories of them, and the dangers they were to our fellows as well as ‘The Hun’.
I suspect they did not meet the Geneva Convention and that they might have been made at somewhere like Cairo, for the M.E.A.F; rather than in the U.K.
I do again thank you for your ‘TOP SECRET RAF BARNHAM & I’ and ‘The War In Italy 1942 – 1945’.
They are both superb and very special books. You certainly did a wonderful job in getting all that personal information on the War in Italy.
The books will be of special interest to readers of such subjects.
I hope this is reflected in good sales of the books. Whether that happens or not you have recorded some history that would otherwise have been lost forever.
I am sure that “Blaze” will be pleased to have his good work recorded.
Best Wishes to you All.
Bruce Barrymore Halpenny