Flying High

September 2000, Volume 38 No. 8
THIS month sees the official 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, that epic encounter, taking place over many weeks, where the "Few" saw off the might of the Luftwaffe and saved Britain from imminent invasion. Without them history would have taken a very different turn. Of course fighter command with their Hurricanes, Spitfires, handlebar moustaches and strange lingo have always held a special place in the heart of the public but even that affection only goes some way to explaining the popularity of this anniversary which has certainly caught the imagination of broadcasters and, one assumes, their audiences too. But then perhaps we should not be too surprised, as we saw with the 80th anniversary of the end of World War I in 1998 and the 100th anniversary of the start of the Boer War last year, military history is still a popular subject and it isn't just us in the medal world who find such things fascinating. Sadly countless "do-gooders" are still trying to steer us away from what they term a "bloody past" and all too often we find military history, particularly anything that shows us as the victor, being re-written or ignored in favour of more politically-correct thinking. There are museums and schools that frequently gloss over large chunks of our history, and the heroes who helped shape our present and future are all too often ignored. Thankfully the vast majority are not fooled by the vociferous minority and are still as keen as ever to hear more about the exploits and heroic deeds of yesteryear. Regardless of what the P-C brigade may say there is no getting away from the fact that there are stories out there, glorious histories that we long to hear more of and may it continue to be so for many years to come.


Of course it isn't just Britain that has an heroic past and there are stories galore from other nations all equally as fascinating and stirring as tales of our own "boys". This is especially true when the heroes in question come from special forces units - a subject the general public seem to have an almost insatiable appetite for. With this in mind we are proud to announce the publication of 'Kiwi Scorpions' - the amazing story of the New Zealanders who fought with the Long Range Desert Group in World War II, first in North Africa and the on into Crete and Greece. We are confident that this work will capture the imagination of both medal collector and military enthusiast alike and are pleased to be able to offer it first to our readers. This is the first of many new works from the "Token" stable, with two more books planned for release before Christmas and at least two more (including another "special forces" work on the SAS) being released in the spring. Watch this space for more details.


'Kiwi Scorpions' is of course only one of the new books we are able to offer now as we are happy to announce the publication of the new Medal Yearbook 2001 (available mid-September). This year's volume promises to be bigger and better than ever before with at least 50 more pages than the 2000 edition, an entirely new section on Indian Medals and extensive illustrations hitherto not seen in the other chapters. The coloured medal ribbon chart has been completely reworked and once again all prices for both full size and miniatures have been checked against market movements with many significant changes made accordingly. Coupled with the all-important index to MEDAL NEWS this is a book no medal collector can afford to be without.

John Mussell

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In This Issue

FEATURE ARTICLE16
Heroes of the Battle of Britain by Patrick Batty
A few of the 'Few' remembered
PROFILE20
An heroic day by Nigel Farrance
The 20th Company Machine Gun Corps
INSIGHT22
Military heroism by Brigadier Stuart Ryder
The posthumous gap
RESEARCH FILE24
Following the clues by Kevin Joynt
Taking research beyond the service records
CASEBOOK26
Something missing? by Keith Steward
Following the trail
SPOTLIGHT28
Freddy Schofield's South African adventure by John Sly
A soldier's diary conceals a mystery
NOTEBOOK33
An unusual rank by Peter Helmore
The role of the Conductor revealed

Regulars

THE EDITORIAL PAGE5
NEWS & VIEWS7
MARKET SCENE11
BOOK REVIEWS35
ON PARADE36
READERS' LETTERS37
MEDAL TRACKER38
CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING40
SUBSCRIPTION FORM43
DEALERS' LISTS44
WHAT'S ON45