Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes
It is September 1939. Shortly after war is declared, Anthony Rhodes is sent to France, serving with the British Army. His days are filled with the minutiae and mundanities of Army life – friendships, billeting, administration – as the months of the ‘Phoney War’ quickly pass and the conflict seems a distant prospect.
It is only in the spring of 1940 that the true situation becomes clear; the men are ordered to retreat to the coast and the beaches of Dunkirk, where they face a desperate and terrifying wait for evacuation.
I am delighted to be reviewing another in the Wartime Classics series by The Imperial War Museum. Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes and was first published in 1942 and is based on the authors own experiences of life in the British Army during the opening weeks of WWII and then being evacuated at Dunkirk.
When Britain declared war on Germany on 3rd September 1939 many believed that the war would be over very quickly, and many soldiers also believed that the war would be akin to WWI with fighting in the trenches. But what happened in those early weeks was called the ‘phoney war’ with British troops sent to France and many enjoying the French hospitality. But that was soon to end with the German blitzkrieg as they stormed in Belgium and then France and British troops began to head to the coast with Dunkirk becoming the focal point as they gathered in the hope of being rescued and shipped back home.
Very much written with the author recounting his time and memories of what it was like arriving in France and life seemingly carrying on as normal, there are some humorous moments but with the fighting getting ever closer and those in command realising they could be defeated and so the order to retreat was made and the beaches at Dunkirk were packed with hundreds of thousand of British troops trying to escape but even when they arrived at Dunkirk the German Luftwaffe would attack the troops and ships.
A slow burn of a book to read but once the retreat is ordered the book began to pick up. But it is another book to add the collection of Wartime Classics if you are collecting the series.
My thanks to Imperial War Museum and RandonTTours for the review copy of Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes.
Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes is published by Imperial War Museum Books and was on published on 20th May 2021 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org
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