The author is perhaps best known as a war reporter, campaigner and former Independent MP. This book is almost of another life. A life that is alien to those born after 1960, if they have even heard of it, but a life that was known to millions of Britons as they spent their compulsory period in National Service. A fascinating tale that is based on letters the author wrote home to his family during his National Service with the Suffolk Regiment in the 1950s.
NAME: The End of Empire, The Cyprus Emergency: a Soldier’s Story
AUTHOR: Martin Bell
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: National Service, colonies, territories, protectorates, soldiers, insurgents, wars of independence, Eastern Mediterranean, the flight from Empire, Cyprus Emergency, Greco- Turkish friction, guerillas, Eoka, colonial policy
DESCRIPTION: The author is perhaps best known as a war reporter, campaigner and former Independent MP. This book is almost of another life. A life that is alien to those born after 1960, if they have even heard of it, but a life that was known to millions of Britons as they spent their compulsory period in National Service. A fascinating tale that is based on letters the author wrote home to his family during his National Service with the Suffolk Regiment in the 1950s.
He paints a vivid portrait of life in the British Army of sixty years ago and provides an inside story of operations against EOKA rebels in Cyprus, drawing on classified documents to reveal the true story. It is a fascinating read and may surprise many readers who thought they knew the true story of the period and the events.
The text is polished, as can be expected of a professional wordsmith, and the photo-plate section contains images that are not familiar from frequent reproduction.
The BREXIT vote has presented Great Britain with a new future and significant opportunities. It also marks an end of one of the most unfortunate betrayals by politicians. WWI was an enormous drain on Britain’s finances and it also destroyed the best young men of a generation. Britain stood on the edge of bankruptcy but the heritage of Empire, and the great victories at Blenheim, Trafalgar and Waterloo, helped the country stagger through the 1920s and 1930s. Off the Gold Standard, Britain still had a huge Navy and the world map still showed great areas of pink to mark the Empire. The private education system still turned out soldiers and administrators, much remained unchanged.
Then, WWII became an inevitable choice of subjugation under an undemocratic, German-ruled, united Europe, or a last stand against the tyrants and the threat to a thousand years of democratic development. It can be said that the British Lion of Empire went out with a mighty roar, but the end of Empire was only inevitable because of the very low standard of British politicians. The apologists and those who believed in managed decline became the Establishment and ruled in their interest, naturally bonding with the arrogant self interests of the similarly worthless Establishment in Brussels that was intent on building a European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
During that period of managed decline, thousands of young men were called to National Service and sent out to the diminishing Empire to take part in a series of firefights and retreats that did no credit to the country and was marked by a series of viscous conflicts.
It may be that Great Britain had reached the point where it was unable to migrate from the old colonial system to a new and equal confederation of countries, girdling the world, sharing heritage, language and laws, and able to build together a new commonwealth of opportunities. BREXIT has created the environment on which that is one possible and prosperous future that could introduce a new golden age. In the meantime, we should not ignore the lessons of the recent past and the author provides commentary on one episode.