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Slessor: Bomber Champion: The Life of Marshal of the RAF Sir John Slessor, GCB, DSO, MC

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Born in India into a family of soldiers and diplomats, Slessor made the first aerial attack on a Zeppelin and went on to serve in the Middle East over the Western Front in World War I; and postwar on the North-West Frontier in India. Rated an exceptional staff officer, in the inter-war years, under the influence of Sir Hugh Trenchard, he became a devout proponent of strategic bombing and a strong advocate of the importance of air support for ground forces. Through his writing and teaching he gained a reputation ...
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Slessor: Bomber Champion-The Life of Marshal of the RAF Sir John Slessor, GCB, DSO, MC

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Overview

Born in India into a family of soldiers and diplomats, Slessor made the first aerial attack on a Zeppelin and went on to serve in the Middle East over the Western Front in World War I; and postwar on the North-West Frontier in India. Rated an exceptional staff officer, in the inter-war years, under the influence of Sir Hugh Trenchard, he became a devout proponent of strategic bombing and a strong advocate of the importance of air support for ground forces. Through his writing and teaching he gained a reputation as a deep thinker, and as Director of Plans in the Air Ministry from 1937, was closely concerned with rearmament. When the conflict came, he became a major cog in the policy machine. Serving variously as Head of 5 Group Bomber Command (1941), with Portal throughout 1942 and at Casablanca in 1943, his high point came as Head of Coastal Command in 1943 with the defeat of the U-Boats, and his nadir in August 1944 with the tragedy of the Warsaw uprising. Post-WWII he continued to influence thinking whether in office or retirement, being an ardent opponent of the Soviet Union. Indeed his Global Strategy Paper in 1952 was arguably the basis of all strategic thinking until the end of the Cold War. Immensely self-confident, Slessor expressed himself forcefully and was dismissive of such luminaries as Alexander, Tedder, Dulles, Nasser, Ibn Saud and Anthony Eden. Vincent Orange was given full access to Slessor’s diaries, letters and papers; and to all relevant official documentation. His assessment of his subject’s contribution to history is cogent, persuasive and above all, well balanced and honest. This is the first full biography of an exceptional man about whom the eminent historian Sir Michael Howard wrote ‘A truly great man. His contribution to the winning of the war has been outstanding. No less was his contribution to subsequent keeping of the peace’.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781904943570
  • Publisher: Grub Street
  • Publication date: 1/15/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents


Foreword     6
Prologue: Bomber Pilot, May 1916     11
Early Days     13
The Great War     17
Flying a Desk in Whitehall     25
The Next War Looms     37
Planning for War     45
Waging War     59
Reality Breaking In     68
Bomber Commander     80
Back to Whitehall     91
Coastal Command and the Appalling Gap     99
The Gap Closed     112
Reluctant Commanders: Eaker and Slessor in the Mediterranean     129
Grinding Towards Victory     141
Troubles Come in Threes: Yugoslavia, Poland, Greece     152
Slessor's Next Appointment     172
The Succession     184
Chief of the Air Staff     194
Sage of Yeovil, 1953-1956     222
Disaster at Suez     239
Cassandra of Yeovil, 1956-1968     250
Epilogue     267
Acknowledgements     272
Sources     273
Index     284
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