The 2nd Norfolk Regiment from Le Paradis to Kohima – Book Review
By Angela Youngman Aug 3, 2011, 16:41 GMT
The Second World War is vanishing into the pages of history. The veterans were once all around us, but their numbers are fast diminishing. While still in their prime many recorded their memories with Peter Hart for the Imperial War Museum. As these old soldiers now fade away their voices from the front are still strong with a rare power to bring the horrors of war back to vivid life. ...more
This is the story of just one regiment during the Second World War - the 2nd Norfolk. It makes fascinating reading telling of the life of new recruits living in the Brittania Barracks, Norwich in the run up to war.
The regiment was one of the first to be sent to France, fighting a rearguard action to provide cover for the exodus at Dunkirk.
After capture, many of the soldiers were massacred by an SS division at Le Paradis in May 1940. Back in the UK, the regiment had to be reformed, with many newcomers as well as those few soldiers who had survived Dunkirk.
For them, the future lay in India where they met Japanese forces head on in the fight for Kohima. Could they prevent the Japanese from invading India? This is a book for military buffs, complete with maps and strategic studies. But it is more than that.
The voices of the soldiers also tell the story of life in a wartime battalion, of dealing with sergeants and novice officers learning their craft in a hurry; of coping with new experiences and new cultures, and what it was like on board those troop carriers crossing the seas.
An interesting book which draws on the wealth of knowledge Peter Hart has acquired through his work at the Imperial War Museum.
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