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Book review – Guy Warner, Flying from Malone (Newtownards, NI – Colourpoint Books, 2012)

Flying from Malone is Guy Warner’s history of Belfast’s first airport that operated from 1924-25. The aerodrome was located in the south of the city off the Malone Road on the site now occupied by the Taughsmonagh housing estate. The land for the site was purchased by the council in the early 1920s and flights […]

Book Review – Susan B. Cunningham, Sir Crawford McCullagh, Belfast’s Dick Whittington (Donaghadee, NI: Ballyhay, 2016)

The book Sir Crawford McCullagh, Belfast’s Dick Whittington, is a biography of The Rt Hon Sir Crawford McCullagh, 1st Baronet (1868-1948) who was a draper, unionist councillor on Belfast City Council and held the position of Lord Mayor for a record 17 times.[1]   McCullagh came from humble origins. He grew up in County Armagh, the fifth […]

Book Review – Brian M. Walker, A History of St George’s Church (Belfast: Ulster History Foundation, 2016)

Brian M. Walker’s book is an excellent chronological institutional history of St George’s church located on High Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was written to mark the church’s 200th anniversary in 2016. The book starts by considering the previous structures which stood on the site before St George’s was constructed in the early 19th century. […]

Activity report for the Mentioned in Dispatches podcast, February 2017 to end of March 2021

Since February 2017 to end of December 2020, 202 episodes of the podcast have been broadcast. Between the launch of the podcast on 13 February, 2017 and the end of March 2021, podcast episodes have been downloaded 373, 897 times. The average number of downloads per programme is 1,851. The activity over the last four […]

Book Review – John Killen, A History of the Linen Hall Library 1788-1988 (Belfast: Linen Hall Library, 1990)

John Killen’s A History of the Linen Hall Library 1788-1988 is a solid and worthy chronological narrative of the first two centuries of the Linen Hall Library (LHL). He starts by setting out how the library came of the intellectual ideas of the enlightenment and the social movement amongst literate and wealthy middle-class people to […]

Book Review – Lyn Gallagher, The Albert Memorial Clock (Belfast: The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 2004)

Lyn Gallagher’s The Albert Memorial Clock is a short pamphlet on the design, building and restoration of the building after which her publication is named. It was written to mark the completion of restoration work on the Albert Memorial Clock (AMC) in 2002. The original structure was completed in 1869 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s late […]

Book Review – Francis Higgins, Religion, Riots and Rebels, The Incredible History of Brown’s Square Belfast (Belfast: Belfast Lad, 2020)

Francis Higgins’ book, Religion, Riots and Rebels, examines the social and economic history of Brown Square and its residents from its establishment in the late eighteenth century to the present day. Today, this area is located in the centre of Belfast. It stands west of the City’s Cathedral quarter, its cultural and tourist hub, and […]

Book Review – J.C. Beckett (Ed), Belfast, The Making of a City (Belfast: Appletree Press, 2003)

J.C. Beckett’s Belfast, The Making of a City is an anthology of 12 essays by different historians on the social, political, economic and cultural development of Belfast during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The nineteenth-century marked the period when the town of Belfast developed from a provincial market town of 20,000 in 1800 to an […]

Book Review – Friedrich Reiner Nieman, Feldpost [Denis Havel (Ed.)] (Stroud, Gloucestershire: Fonthill, 2016)

Feldpost is a collection of letters from Friedrich Reiner Niemann who served with the 58th Infantry Regiment that was part of the German 6th Infantry Division during the Second World War.[1] The correspondence covers his life and front line experiences on the Eastern Front from 1941 to 1945. Niemann came from a well to do […]

Book Review: Helmut Altner, Berlin Soldier (Stroud: History Press, 2008 [1948])

 Helmut Altner’s memoir covers his period as a 17-year-old conscript soldier fighting in the defence of Berlin from his enlistment on 29 March 1945 to his capture by Soviet forces on 3 May. He initially joined the Grenadier and Training Replacement Battalion 309 that was part of the 309th ‘Berlin’ Infantry Division formed in February […]

Book Review – Martin Poppel, Heaven & Hell, The War Diary of a German Paratrooper (Staplehurst: Spellmount, 1988)

  Martin Poppel’s Heaven and Hell is his account of his service in the German Fallschirmjaeger (Parachute hunters) during the Second World War. He enlisted in 1938 as a recruit in the 1st Parachute Division and saw action in Poland, Norway and Holland before being promoted to Second Lieutenant in December 1941.  Until October 1943, […]

Book Review: Herman Schmidt, Diary of a German Soldier 1939-1945 (Amazon, n.d.),

Herman Schmidt’s Diary of a German Soldier 1939-1945 is more a memoir rather than a diary; the title is misleading. Schmidt was drafted into the German army in September 1939 at the age of 39.[1] The majority of his service was in various menial roles around the horse supply unit for the 18th Army in […]

Book Review – John Stieber, Against the Odds (Dublin: Poolbeg Press, 2016)

John Stieber’s account covers his time as a private in the Herman Goring Division, fighting on the Eastern Front July in late 1944 and 1945. He was born in 1926 of Czech-Austrian parents and grew up in England and Ireland in the 1920s and 1930s as his father ran various sugar refineries. In 1939, aged […]

Book Review – William Lubbeck, At Leningrad’s Gates (Philadelphia, PA/USA: Casement, 2006)

This is the chronological memoir of William Lubbeck who served throughout the Second World War as a ranker and officer in the German 58th Infantry Division. He served as a forward observer for the heavy weapons support company (13th Company) of the 154th Infantry Regiment and he went onto command that formation. He saw service […]

Activity report for the Mentioned in Dispatches podcast, February 2017 to end of December 2020.

Since February 2017 to end of December 2020, 189 episodes of the podcast have been broadcast. Between the launch of the podcast on 13 February, 2017 and the end of December 2020, podcast episodes have been downloaded 346,741 times.  To date (31 December 2020), we have had 129,330 complete downloads and 217,411 partial downloads.   […]

Book review: Armin Scheiderbauer, Adventures in My Youth: A German Soldier on the Eastern Front, 1941-1945 (Solihull: Helion, 2003)

Armim Scheiderbauer was born in 1924 in Styria, south-east Austria, his father being a Protestant minister. In August 1941, Scheiderbauer was drafted into the German Army and became an officer cadet. From summer 1942, he served for all his time in uniform as an infantry officer with the 252nd Infantry Division where he was a […]

The Combat Morale Podcast

I have established a new podcast titled the Combat Morale Podcast. It aims to explore what makes combatants fight (or not) in armed conflict. The podcast has a very broad remit covering all conflicts, asymmetric and conventional and seeks to be multidisciplinary hosting interviews with experts drawn from psychology, sociology, history policy and the armed […]

A ‘mere six weeks’? A comparative study re-examining the longevity of infantry officers’ frontline service during the Great War

My latest article in War in History examines the length of time officers actually served in infantry units during the Great War Veteran testimony after the Great War and current popular legend states that regimental officers in frontline infantry battalions during the Great War served around six weeks before death or injury ended their service. […]

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