When very large numbers of American service personnel arrived in the UK, they were based in camps that were largely in quiet rural areas and they significantly outnumbered the local indigenous population. The fact that most US military personnel avoided upsetting the local population was a major achievement on both sides – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: An American Uprising In Second World War England, Mutiny In The Duchy FILE: R3377 AUTHOR: Kate Werran PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Second World War, WWII, World War II, World War 2, raw troops, amphibious warfare, training missions, landing craft, escorts, inter-racial tension, training camps, indigenous population, social differences ISBN: 1-52675-954-3 PAGES: 236, 16 page photo-plate section with images in B&W IMAGE: B3377.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/4rvwbcuc LINKS: DESCRIPTION: When very large numbers of American service personnel arrived in the UK, they were based in camps that were largely in quiet rural areas and they significantly outnumbered the local indigenous population. The fact that most US military personnel avoided upsetting the local population was a major achievement on both sides – Very Highly Recommended
The author has very carefully researched, including rare archive sources, to produce an important addition to the knowledge of life in Britain during WWII.
The very nature of the military build up in Britain meant that camps were thrown up mostly in rural areas. Those areas had changed little in hundreds of years and many local families travelled rarely outside their market towns and villages and had lived in the same areas from the Mediaeval Period. The US service personnel had received little training and arrived in a country that had been fighting for survival for several years, suffered Luftwaffe bombing, even in rural areas, and been living on rationed food and materials. The lights were turned out, there were few private vehicles still with petrol to use the roads and the common language between British and Americans contained some important differences.
When personnel came off the troop ships they had a handbook of things to do, and avoid doing, but only the most basic introduction to Britain. It was a major shock to the Americans’ systems. This reviewer learned something of the experience from American relatives who arrived as airmen and soldiers. It is very difficult for most today to fully appreciate what conditions were like and the tensions that were inevitable. The movement of personnel ahead of D-Day went surprisingly well, the local population doing its best to welcome the visitors and most of the US personnel trying hard not to irritate the locals and to learn from them.
There were so many differences and potential pitfalls. One area was the very strong racial tensions within the US military and had difficulty understanding why Britons should be resistant to the idea of enforcing apartheid when servicemen we allowed to visit nearby towns. Those from Southern States still regarded black Americans as sub-human slaves, good for nothing beyond heavy manual work. It reached farcical proportions in the USAAF where white airmen often treated their black comrades badly but, in the air, were keen to be escorted by Tuskegee pilots flying the ‘Red Tailed Devil’ Mustangs. Of course many didn’t realise that the Red Tails were not white pilots and only knew that their Mustangs offered the very best survival rates for the bomber crews they protected.
The author has covered the ‘mutiny’ in the Duchy very convincingly and told a story that is much needed. Illustration is confined to an effective B&W plate section.