Last Chance – Win a great book – enter now – closes 24:00 hrs Zulu December 31 2015



Win one of three copies of “Kings of the Air” by entering the FIRE Project December Book Competition.


Competition December 2015

Competition open Wednesday 16th December 2015

Last date for entries Thursday 31st December 2015

Question: Name the French fighter ‘Ace’ who was the first pilot to use a machine gun firing through the propeller arc

Send your answer in an email to:

Enter in the subject field  FIRE Project Competition Number One

Enter in the email body your answer, The name of the French fighter ‘Ace’

Then email before the Closing Date; which is Thursday 31st December 2016 24:00 hrs Zulu (UK time zone)

Judging: On Friday 1st January 2016, the FIRE Project judges will select the first three correct entries. The winners will receive a congratulations email to the address in their entry and will be required to reply by email with an address that they wish their prize to be posted to by surface mail. The FIRE Project will only use information provided by entrants for the purposes of the competition and that data will be purged after the prizes have been dispatched to the three winners. The judges decision will be final and binding

Seamanship in the Age of Sail, 1600-1860


The first reaction to this book is jaw dropping. The publisher has a well deserved reputation for producing outstanding, heavily-illustrated large format books with the highest quality production. The author has produced fine text from extensive research and the illustrations have been executed by Mark Myers who demonstrates great ability in producing the vital images. The cover price is aggressive for a book of this quality, although it will inevitably restrict access for many readers who would greatly enjoy the work. Traditionally this is the type of book that used to reach a wider audience through public lending libraries but many of these important sources of information and education are being closed, with the survivors facing a totally inadequate funding for the purchase of new books. This may be addressed eventually with public access to the new British Library Copyright database for electronic books, but there are many issues to be addressed before that becomes practical with adequate protection of intellectual rights. So the best this reviewer can offer would-be readers is: sell your grannies, beg, borrow, or steal the cover price and snap up a copy. This is fantastic book, that opens the mysteries of seamanship in the age of sail. It is comprehensive and although the period covered is 1600 to 1860, the lessons in seaman ship apply to earlier vessels and to those magnificent survivors, the USN Frigate USS Constitution and the US whale ship Charles W Morgan, both of which have been restored to full sailing capability. Very Highly Recommended.

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One Man’s War, an Actor’s Life at Sea 1940-1945


Just when you think that everything that could be written about WWII has been, up pops a new book that proves there is still so much to be written and, in the case of autobiographies and biographies, so little time to write it. The author has more than fifty years of acting and taking part in iconic television series. That means that those who know of him are unlikely to think of anything beyond his acting career. This book sets out with charm and humour the story of his wartime career as a skipper commanding an important type of coastal craft and the great adventure that it was for him. Joining the Royal Navy as a humble rating, he rose to commission and command of coastal forces vessels. The story has a good pace, worthy of a novel, with as many twists and turns to keep the reader turning pages to the end. An excellent story, very well told, highly recommended.

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The Voyage of the Beagle, Darwin’s extraordinary adventure aboard FitzRoy’s famous survey ship


It is difficult to think of any single voyage that has changed the world in the way that the voyage of the Beagle managed. This really was an extraordinary adventure to the far side of the world. The story is told in an engaging style and supported by some outstanding illustration. This is a form of publishing that Conway has developed into an art form. The quality of production is excellent and this is a book that should appeal to so many different readers. There is the appeal of the voyage as a maritime interest and there is much to appeal to those interested in nature and the natural world, but this is also a story that appeals to philosophy and theology. Highly recommended.

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Admiral Nelson’s Warship at Trafalgar, HMS Victory, Pocket Manual 1805


The author is a well established specialist in sailing warships of the 18th and 19th Century, having been technical and historical advisor to HMS Victory in Portsmouth for more than 20 years. The Conway imprint has an even longer experience of publishing high quality books on the sailing navy and producing well-executed sketches and technical drawings to illustrate authoritative text. Given that joint experience of author and publisher, this book was bound to be outstanding. This is a first class coverage of perhaps the best known warship in the world and offered at an extremely affordable price.

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Martin-Leake, Double VC


The Victoria Cross is one of the premier military awards in the world. It has developed a reputation for recognition of extreme bravery on the field of battle. Few have been awarded in its history and only three warriors have been award two Victory Crosses. It would therefore be reasonable to expect that these three outstanding combatants would have been the subject of much coverage in print, both at the time of their awards and in the years since. Amazingly this is the first book to be written about Arthur Martin-Leake even though his life is most interesting and the double VC such a very rare award. This book is important and every reader who has followed military history and the bravery exhibited during WWI should read this inspiring and fascinating account of an exceptional warrior. It is a great tale that is simply not to be missed.

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T E Lawrence in War and Peace, The Military Writings of Lawrence of Arabia, An anthology


Lawrence of Arabia has been much written about and is still an enigma. This anthology is ably presented and sensitively edited. The result is a body of text, with rare illustrations, that compliments other works, particularly the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. The secret and supplementary despatches offer up fresh perspectives. The story of Lawrence comes into fashion and then fades again, currently being in a fashionable period. This anthology will not only appeal to those interested in T E Lawrence but also those with interests in the history and development of the Middle East with its many contradictions and threats. An interesting presentation.

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The Blood Tub, General Gough and the Battle of Bullecourt 1917


The author is known for his careful and detailed research and these qualities again stand out from the nicely paced text. There is illustration in the form of photo plates and maps. This is the story of a battle that was costly and, arguably, should never have been fought as it was. It caused friction between the British and the Australians, but the war of attrition that was the story of the Western Front made few concessions to damage limitation. This book provides a clear and unbiased account of the action with fresh insight and thorough study of available British and Australian primary source material. No reader with an interest in the war on the Western Front can avoid reading this well-written account because it also provides some information and insights that fit well with other accounts of the fight along the line of opposing trenches. Recommended reading.

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A Marine at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, The Diary of Harry Askin


This book is drawn from the diary of Royal Marine serving during WWI. It contains all the range of emotions and paints a vivid picture of life under virtually continuous fire. For many readers, it will provide a very fresh collection of insights into how the Great War was fought. A graphic book that demands to be read.

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Johnny Get Your Gun, a Personal Narrative of the Somme, Ypres & Arras


This is not just a war story, but a unique comparison between the beauty of the French countryside with the lunar landscape of the mud and blood of trench war.

The embracing text is supported by illustration in the form of maps and photographs.

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