Review: Normandy, The search for Sidney
- Published: 30 April 2010 30 April 2010
- Last Updated: 12 July 2013 12 July 2013
Thomas J Bates & Eric Lummis
The book is written in both English and French which makes the relatively thick book not so thick.
The subject of the book is the English corporal Sidney Bates, VC who belonged to the 1.batalion/ the Royal Norfolk Regiment. During 6 of August 1944 Corporal Bates alone conducted a counter attack against units of the 10 SS-Panzer-division Frundsberg. With this counter attack Corporal Bates saved his comrades in the battalion and the battalion staff. Bates was unfortunately killed during the counter attack and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
At the least this was the subject of the book that I expected when I read the back cover of the book.
The first part of the book assuredly is about Corporal Bates and his actions. The author and three veterans from the Normandy campaign are trying to find the actual place were corporal Bates conducted the counter attack. Day by day during four days the book is describing the searches which in the long run get pretty boring. But after a long search the veterans find the place where Corporal Bates was killed.
When I was reading the book I was expecting to find a report about the facts around the actually battle, but unfortunately this report never occurs in the book which make the book a little bit disappointing.
After the chapters about Corporal Bates the book is about different persons own experiences during the battle for Normandy. These experiences had nothing directly to do with Corporal Bates.
Those who have seen the movie The longest Day maybe recollect a scene were a slightly drunken Frenchman with a shining fireman’s helmet welcomes the allies as liberators. This scene was a debated issue after the film premier because the Frenchman hade been a mayor in a French village near the invasions beaches. And the relatives to the mayor thought it seemed like the mayor had had drinking problems.
The author writes that this event was misunderstood by the creator of the film and after some research the author is able to clarify the real circumstances around the mayor event.
The last part of the book is about the history of the 1.battalion/ Royal and the attack during D-day at the Merville-battery (codename Hillman). This part of the book is written in a nice way and it’s easy the get a picture over the Hillman attack.
The book is interesting but the title says something else than the book´s chapters. This makes the grade of the book to decrease a little bit.
(Reviewed by Mats D.)