Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain; the RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism. The RAF describes its mission statement as "... an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power.
Air power is defined as "the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events". Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology; this consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft. The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces. Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps deliver air power, integrated into the maritime and land environments. While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control.
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire; the RAF's naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924 but handed over to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939. The RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War; the RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
Many individual personnel from these countries, exiles from occupied Europe served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available; the RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho. Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. During the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Between 26 June and the lifting of the Russian blockade of the city on 2 May, the RAF provided 17% of the total supplies delivered du
Dame Margaret Drabble, Lady Holroyd is an English novelist and critic. Drabble was born in Sheffield, the second daughter of the advocate and novelist John F. Drabble and the teacher Kathleen Marie, her older sister is critic Dame Antonia Byatt. After attending the Quaker boarding-school Mount School at York, where her mother was employed, Drabble received a scholarship to Newnham College, where she read English, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1960, at one point serving as an understudy for Vanessa Redgrave, before leaving to pursue a career in literary studies and writing. As of 2016, Drabble has published 19 novels, her first, A Summer Bird Cage, was published in 1963. Her early novels were published by Nicolson, her third novel, The Millstone, brought her the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1966, Jerusalem the Golden won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1967. She wrote The Needle's Eye in 1972. A theme of her novels is the correlation between contemporary England's society and its individual members.
Her characters' tragic faults reflect the political and economic situation and the restriction of conservative surroundings, making the reader aware of the dark spots of a wealthy country. Most of her protagonists are women; the realistic descriptions of her figures owe something to Drabble's personal experiences. Thus, her first novels describe the life of young women during the 1960s and 1970s, for whom the conflict between motherhood and intellectual challenges is being brought into focus, while 1998's The Witch of Exmoor shows the withdrawn existence of an old author. Though inspired by her own life, her works are not autobiographical, she has written several screenplays and short stories, as well as non-fiction such as A Writer's Britain: Landscape and Literature and biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson. Her critical works include studies of Thomas Hardy. Drabble edited two editions of The Oxford Companion to English Literature in 1985 and 2000. In 2011, A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, a collection of her short stories, was published.
Drabble chaired the National Book League from 1980 to 1982. Drabble was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1980 Queen's Birthday Honours, the University of Cambridge awarded her an honorary Doctorate in Letters in 2006, she was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2008 Birthday Honours. In 2003, she was the recipient of the St. Louis Literary Award, given by the Saint Louis University Library Associates. In 2011, she was awarded the Golden PEN Award by English PEN for "a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature". In the immediate aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Drabble wrote of the anticipated wave of anti-Americanism, saying, "My anti-Americanism has become uncontrollable, it has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like that fashionable American sickness. I now loathe the United States and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the helpless world," despite "remembering the many Americans that I know and respect."
She wrote of her distress at images of the war, her objections to Jack Straw about the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, "American imperialism, American infantilism, American triumphalism about victories it didn't win." She recalled George Orwell's words in Nineteen Eighty-Four about "the intoxication of power" and "the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy, helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever." She closed by saying, "I hate feeling this hatred. I have to keep reminding myself that if Bush hadn't been elected, we wouldn't be here, none of this would have happened. There is another America. Long live the other America, may this one pass away soon." Drabble was married to actor Clive Swift between 1960 and 1975. In 1982, Drabble married biographer Sir Michael Holroyd. Drabble's relationship with her sister A. S. Byatt has sometimes been strained because of the presence of autobiographical elements in both their writing.
While their relationship is no longer close and they do not read each other's books, Drabble describes the situation as "normal sibling rivalry" and Byatt says it has been "terribly overstated by gossip columnists" and that the sisters "always have liked each other on the bottom line." Margaret Drabble at British Council: Literature Margaret Drabble on IMDb Barbara Milton. "Margaret Drabble, The Art of Fiction No. 70". Paris Review. One Pair of Eyes: Margaret Drabble, BBC2, 9 March 1968, BBC Archive site Barbara Milton, "Margaret Drabble, The Art of Fiction No. 70", The Paris Review, Fall-Winter 1978, No. 74. Margaret Drabble's research files for her 1995 biography of novelist Sir Angus Wilson are housed at the University of Iowa Special Collections & University Archives
The Sea Eagle
The Sea Eagle is a 1944 novel by Australian war correspondent and novelist James Aldridge. Set in Axis-occupied Greece and Crete after the Nazi invasion during World War II, it follows the attempts of two Australian soldiers to make passage to Cairo with the help of Greek partisans. Winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1945 and hailed as "the finest work of fiction yet produced by the war", it has since fallen into obscurity, his first novel, Signed With Their Honour, was set in war-time Greece
The Millstone (novel)
The Millstone is a novel by Margaret Drabble, first published in 1965. It is about an unmarried, young academic who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand and, against all odds, decides to give birth to her child and raise it herself. Drabble has acknowledged the source of the title to be in Christ's words: "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea"; the parallel between Christ's words and the plot of the novel is established through the innocent though illegitimate baby, the "little one", subject to harm, her congenital heart defect rendering her vulnerable in the extreme. Christ's warning of punishment to would-be agents of harm is echoed in the fiercely loving protectiveness of Rosamund, the child's mother; the Millstone, Drabble said in 2011, is about how maternity "changes you into something fiercer than you were before."Three of Drabble's first six novels have Biblical titles – a remnant of her Quaker education.
The Millstone was the other two being Jerusalem the Golden and The Needle's Eye. Set in not-quite-yet Swinging London, The Millstone focuses on the life of Rosamund Stacey, an attractive Cambridge graduate, writing her thesis on early English poetry while living alone in the spacious flat of her parents, who have gone to Africa for a year on a philanthropic mission. While Rosamund is convinced of both her qualities as a literary historian and her Socialist—and in particular Fabian—ideals, she is rather reluctant when it comes to sex. To avoid being considered old-fashioned or priggish, she has managed to make her small but intimate circle of friends believe that she is carrying on with two men at the same time whereas in fact she is still a virgin and only enjoys her two male friends' company; each of the men thinks that she is sleeping with the other one so neither of them presses her to have sex with him. In a pub Rosamund meets George Matthews, a newsreader for BBC Radio, at once feels attracted to him although she is quite sure right from the start that he is gay.
They end up in her flat and have sex. As George is under the impression that she has two lovers, Rosamund has no need to hide the fact that this is in fact her first time. Too shy to tell him that she has fallen in love with him, now believing that he is bisexual, she lets George vanish from her life as as he entered it, in the ensuing months only listening to his voice on the radio; when she learns that she is pregnant, a whole new world opens up to her. While she decides against telling George or writing to her parents in order not to unnecessarily upset them, she hopes she will get moral support from her sister Beatrice and her husband, who have three small children themselves. However, in a letter to her sister Beatrice expresses her shock and disbelief and urges Rosamund either to have an abortion or to give birth to the baby and put it up for adoption afterwards, carry on with her life and academic career as if nothing had happened. After a half-hearted attempt at inducing a miscarriage, she decides to have the baby and be one of the women Bernard Shaw refers to as "women who want children but no husband".
Her friends take the news well and without asking too many questions about the identity of the father, they secretly assume, must be one of her two lovers. Rosamund, stops seeing the two men and focuses on her work and her pregnancy, she finds a true friend in Lydia Reynolds, a young novelist who takes her up on her offer to share her flat with her in return for the occasional babysitting job once her child has been born. For the first time in her life Rosamund has to deal with the National Health Service and all its inadequacies; when her daughter is born, she decides to name her Octavia after Octavia Hill. When she is only a few months old, Octavia is found to have a serious condition of the pulmonary artery, surgery is unavoidable. However, the operation turns out to be successful, Rosamund is allowed to take her daughter home after weeks of anxiety. Lydia, now having an affair with one of Rosamund's former "lovers", still lives with her after Octavia, just for a few minutes left to her own devices, has crawled into Lydia's room and ripped chewed up a major part of the typescript of her new novel.
Rosamund's parents are informed about the existence of their grandchild through a letter from Octavia's surgeon, who happens to be an old acquaintance of theirs, but they tactfully decide not to disturb their daughter's new life and stay abroad for another year rather than return for Christmas as planned. The final scene of the novel takes place late at night on Christmas Eve, when Rosamund has to go to an all-night chemist's near her flat to get some medicine for Octavia. There, she has a chance meeting with George, again invites him up to her flat. Rosamund lies about the age of Octavia. Reluctantly, George is persuaded to have a look at the sleeping Octavia, pronounces her a beautiful baby, leaves again; this novel was adapted into the film A Touch of Love in 1969. The film varies little from the novel in plot
Alun Lewis (poet)
Alun Lewis was a Welsh poet. He is one of the best-known English-language poets of the Second World War Alun Lewis, was born on 1 July 1915 at Cwmaman, near Aberdare in Cynon Valley in the South Wales Coalfield, his father and mother were school teachers at Llanwern. By the time he won a scholarship to attend Cowbridge Grammar School, he was interested in writing, he went on to study at the University of Manchester. Although he was born in South Wales, he wrote in English only. Lewis instead earned his living as a supply teacher, he met the poet Lynette Roberts. In 1939, Lewis met Gweno Ellis, a teacher, whom he married on 5 July 1941. After the outbreak of the Second World War Lewis first joined the British army's Royal Engineers in the ranks because he was a pacifist who wanted to help the defeat of fascism. However, he inexplicably sought and gained a commission in an infantry battalion. In 1941 he collaborated with artists John Petts and Brenda Chamberlain on the "Caseg broadsheets", his first published book was the collection poetry Raider's Dawn and other poems, followed up by a volume of short stories, The Last Inspection.
In 1942 he was sent to India with the South Wales Borderers. Lewis' poems about his war experiences have been described as showing "his brooding over his army experiences and trying to catch and hold some vision that would illuminate it's desolation with meaning" Lewis died on 5 March 1944 in Burma, in the course of the campaign against the Japanese, he was found shot in the head, after shaving and washing, near the officers' latrines, with his revolver in his hand, died from the wound six hours later. Despite it being a case of suicide, an army court of inquiry charitably concluded that he had tripped and that the shooting was an accident, his second book of poems, Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets. Poems in Transit, was published in 1945, his Letters from India in 1946. Several collections of his poems and stories have been published subsequently. Raiders' Dawn and other poems The Last Inspection and other stories Posthumous releases and compilationsHa! Ha! Among the Trumpets. Poems in Transit Letters from India, edited by Gweno Lewis & Gwyn Jones In the Green Tree Selected Poetry and Prose, edited by Ian Hamilton Selected Poems of Alun Lewis, edited by Jeremy Hooker and Gweno Lewis Alun Lewis.
A Miscellany of His Writings, edited by John Pikoulis Letters to My Wife, edited by Gweno Lewis Collected Stories, edited by Cary Archard Collected Poems, edited by Cary Archard A Cypress Walk. Letters to'Frieda', with a memoir by Freda Aykroyd Alun Lewis. A Life by John Pikoulis Poet in Khaki: Alun Lewis and his Combat Writings by Pinaki Roy, War and the Arts, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2012-13: https://web.archive.org/web/20160304132444/http://wlajournal.com/24_1/pdf/Roy.pdf
The Mystic Masseur (novel)
The Mystic Masseur is a comic novel by V. S. Naipaul, it is set in colonial Trinidad and was published in London in 1957. The novel is about a frustrated writer of Indian descent who rises from an impoverished background to become a successful politician on the back of his dubious talent as a'mystic' masseur - a masseur who can cure illnesses; the Mystic Masseur follows a Trinidadian of Indian heritage. As a young man, Ganesh attends a training college for teachers, after graduation, he begins working as a primary school teacher in Port of Spain, Trinidad’s capital. However, he loses interest in this profession and returns to his hometown of Fourways, where he learns that his father has just died. Ganesh plans to be either a writer or a professional masseur, he befriends a local shop owner named Ramlogan. Ramlogan has a 16-year-old daughter named Leela, Leela and Ganesh soon marry. After the wedding, ganesh demands a large dowry payment from Ramlogan. Ganesh and Leela go to live in the small rural village of Fuente Grove, he befriends a shop owner there named Beharry.
Beharry encourages Ganesh to read and become a writer, Ganesh orders several hundred books by mail to comprise his personal library. He reads the books and makes notes, but Leela becomes frustrated by the lack of progress Ganesh makes with writing, she leaves Ganesh and returns to Fourways to live with her father again. Ganesh spends the next five weeks writing an educational text about Hinduism, when he finishes it, he has hires a print shop to make copies of his book, he brings the book to Leela and Ramlogan, they are ecstatic that he has written a book. However, Ramlogan becomes furious when he sees that the book is dedicated to Beharry rather than Leela or himself. Leela returns to Ganesh. Ganesh decides to become a religious healer, his first client is a mother. Ganesh performs a ritual over the boy, who says that the black cloud is gone. Ganesh becomes a successful mystic, but he soon discovers that the five local taxis are overcharging passengers to come to his home, he discovers that the taxis are all owned by Ramlogan.
He goes to Ramlogan and says that he wishes to buy the taxis from him and that if Ramlogan refuses, Ganesh will buy his own taxis and have them charge reasonable rates. Ramlogan, furious but defeated, agrees to sell the taxis to Ganesh. Ganesh, having gained considerable personal wealth, invests his money in Fuente Grove’s businesses and infrastructure, the village begins to prosper. One day, Hindu organizers approach Ganesh and inform him that C. S. Narayan, the president of the Trinidad Hindu Association, has been embezzling funds from the organization Ganesh and the organizers publicize Narayan’s malfeasance by publishing their own newspaper. Soon, Narayan is voted out of his position in the organization, Ganesh is voted in as the new president. Ganesh decides to campaign for a position in the Legislative Council of Trinidad, he wins having gained widespread fame and popularity by this point. However, while he intends to fight for the wellbeing of Trinidad’s downtrodden, he is soon stymied by the politics of the Legislative Council and must instead follow the lead of the other Council members.
The publisher André Deutsch encouraged Naipaul to write a novel after seeing the manuscript of his collection of short stories, Miguel Street. The Mystic Masseur won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1958; the novel was the first by Naipaul to be filmed. The 2001 film adaptation, The Mystic Masseur, is a Merchant Ivory production
Elizabeth Jane Howard
Elizabeth Jane Howard, CBE, FRSL, was an English novelist, author of 12 novels including the best-selling series The Cazalet Chronicles. Howard worked as an actress in provincial repertory and as a model before her writing career, which began in 1947. Howard's first novel, The Beautiful Visit, described as "distinctive, self- assured and remarkably sensual", won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1951 for best novel by a writer under 30, she next collaborated with Robert Aickman, writing three of the six short stories in the collection We Are for the Dark. Her second novel, The Long View, describes a marriage in reverse chronology. Five further novels followed before she embarked on her best known work, the Cazalet Chronicles, at the suggestion of her stepson Martin Amis; the Chronicles were a family saga "about the ways in which English life changed during the war years for women." They follow three generations of a middle-class English family and draw on Howard's own life and memories. The first four volumes, The Light Years, Marking Time and Casting Off, were published from 1990 to 1995.
The fifth, All Change, was written in just a year and published in 2013. Millions of copies of the Cazalet Chronicles were sold worldwide; the Light Years and Marking Time were serialised by Cinema Verity for BBC Television as The Cazalets in 2001. A BBC Radio 4 version in 45 episodes was broadcast from 2012. Howard wrote the screenplay for the 1989 movie Getting It Right, directed by Randal Kleiser, based on her 1982 novel of the same name, as well as TV scripts for Upstairs, Downstairs, she wrote a book of short stories, Mr. Wrong, edited two anthologies, including The Lover's Companion. Howard's parents were David Liddon Howard, a timber merchant, Katharine Margaret Somervell, a dancer with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and daughter of the composer Sir Arthur Somervell. One of her brothers, lived with her and her third husband, Sir Kingsley Amis, for 17 years, she was educated at Francis Holland School and studied domestic science and drama at Ebury Street, London. Howard married Peter Scott in 1942, at age 19, they had a daughter, Nicola.
Howard left Scott in 1946 to become a writer, they were divorced in 1951. At this time she was employed as part-time secretary to the pioneering canals conservation organisation the Inland Waterways Association, where she met and collaborated with Robert Aickman, she had an affair with Aickman, described in her autobiography Slipstream. Her second marriage, to Australian broadcaster Jim Douglas-Henry in 1958, was brief, her third marriage, to novelist Kingsley Amis, whom she met while organising the Cheltenham Literary Festival, lasted from 1965 to 1983. Her stepson, Martin Amis, has credited her with encouraging him to become a more serious reader and writer. Howard had romantic liaisons with Laurie Lee, Kenneth Tynan, Arthur Koestler, Cecil Day-Lewis, Nancy Spain and others. In life, she lived in Bungay and was appointed CBE in 2000, she died at home on 2 January 2014, aged 90. The Beautiful Visit. Jonathan Cape. 1950. ISBN 978-0-224-60977-7. Winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize We Are for the Dark: Six Ghost Stories.
Jonathan Cape. 1951. The Long View. Jonathan Cape. 1956. ISBN 978-0-224-60318-8; the Sea Change. Jonathan Cape. 1959. ISBN 978-0-224-60319-5. After Julius. Jonathan Cape. 1965. ISBN 978-0-224-61037-7. Something in Disguise. Jonathan Cape. 1969. ISBN 978-0-224-61744-4. Odd Girl Out. Jonathan Cape. 1972. ISBN 978-0-224-00661-3. Mr. Wrong. Jonathan Cape. 1975. Getting It Right. Hamish Hamilton. 1982. ISBN 978-0-241-10805-5; the Light Years. Macmillan Publishers. 1990. ISBN 978-0-333-53875-3. Marking Time. Macmillan. 1991. ISBN 978-0-333-56596-4. Confusion. Macmillan. 1993. ISBN 978-0-333-57582-6. Casting Off. Macmillan. 1995. ISBN 978-0-333-60757-2. Falling. Macmillan. 1999. ISBN 978-0-333-73020-1. Slipstream. Macmillan. 2002. ISBN 978-0-333-90349-0. Howard, Elizabeth Jane. Three Miles Up and Other Strange Stories. ISBN 978-1-872621-75-3. Love All. Macmillan. 2008. ISBN 978-1-4050-4161-4. All Change. Macmillan. 2013. ISBN 978-0230743076. Howard's autobiography, was published in 2002. A biography, entitled Elizabeth Jane Howard: A Dangerous Innocence by Artemis Cooper, was published by John Murray in 2017.
A reviewer said it was "strongest in the case it makes for the virtues of Howard's fiction". Elizabeth Jane Howard: Overview, Cambridge University Press, accessed 1 November 2010, archived by WebCite on 31 October 2010. "Elizabeth Jane Howard", BBC Radio 4, 29 October 2002, accessed 1 November 2010. Millard, Rosie. "The beauty and the psycho", The Times, 12 October 2008, accessed 1 November 2010. Elizabeth Jane Howard on IMDb Elizabeth Jane Howard on Desert Island Discs