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Gavin Mortimer, who lives in Paris, is an award-winning writer, and journalist. He is the football correspondent for the Week magazine and also writes for the Sunday Telegraph, BBC History Magazine, and Rugby World.
The remarkable stories of 100 football artefacts that have shaped the game as we know it. From the inaugural red card to the ubiquitous mock Tudor mansion, each of the objects selected gives us an intimate glimpse of an unexpected truth behind footie mythology - and together they relate the larger history of the world's biggest and most-loved sport. Sue Baker's view... Gavin Mortimer entertains with his diverting views of a great game through key objects in its history. And by using these key objects he is able to recount a history of how this sport began and the strange and meandering progress it made to prominence today. Like for Like ReadingMy Father and Other Working Class Football Heroes, Gary Imlach
Gavin Mortimer entertains with his diverting views of a great game through key objects in its history. And by using these key objects he is able to recount a history of how this sport began and the strange and meandering progress it made to prominence today. June 2013 Sports Book of the Month.Like for Like ReadingAnd God Created Cricket, Simon Hughes
Formed in June 1940 for the purpose of gathering intelligence behind enemy lines, the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) played a secretive but vital role in North Africa during World War II. Highly trained in mechanized reconnaissance and specializing in desert operations, the unit provided support to the Special Air Service (SAS) in missions across the vast and treacherous terrain of the Western Desert. In this highly illustrated history of the LRDG, Gavin Mortimer reveals the origins and dramatic operations of Britain's first ever special forces unit.
Established in June 1940, the Long Range Desert Group was the inspiration of scientist and soldier Major Ralph Bagnold, a contemporary of T.E Lawrence who, in the inter-war years, explored the North African desert in a Model T Ford automobile. Mortimer takes us from the founding of the LRDG, through their treacherous journey across the Egyptian Sand Sea and beyond, offering a hitherto unseen glimpse into the heart of this most courageous organisation, whose unique and valiant contributions to the war effort can now finally be recognized and appreciated. Praise for Gavin Mortimer: With unparalleled access to SBS's archive, Mortimer draws on private papers to produce the definitive account of the SBS's extraordinary exploits in WWII. Sunday Telegraph The SBS is finally being recognised thanks to a remarkable new book. Author Gavin Mortimer spent more than a decade interviewing veterans, scrutinising SBS archives and poring over recently declassified documents to write The SBS in World War 2. Daily Mirror This gripping first-hand account of the raid is one of many previously unpublished resources that Mortimer's book draws on. The Times Mortimer deserves full credit for assembling a mountain of material and presenting it with lucidity and balance Philip Ziegler, Daily Mail
The Special Boat Squadron was Britain's most exclusive Special Forces unit during World War II. Highly trained, totally secretive and utterly ruthless, the SBS was established as an entity in its own right in early 1943. Unlike its sister unit, which numbered more than 1,000 men, the SBS never comprised more than 100. Led by men such as the famed Victoria Cross recipient Anders Lassen, the SBS went from island to island in the Mediterranean, landing in the dead of night in small fishing boats and launching savage hit and run raids on the Germans. Through unrivalled access to the SBS archives and interviews with the surviving members of the unit, Gavin Mortimer has pieced together the largely forgotten dramatic exploits of this elite fighting force. In this new and updated paperback edition, featuring additional content including new text and photographs, the unit and its members are finally granted the recognition that they so richly deserve.
The SAS are among the best-trained and most effective Special Forces units in existence. This book is the incredible story of their origins, told in their own words. During the summer of 1941, a young Scots Guard officer called David Stirling persuaded MEHQ to give its backing to a small band of 60 men christened 'L Detachment'. With a wealth of stunning photographs, many from the SAS Regimental Archives, the book captures the danger and excitement of the initial SAS raids against Axis airfields during the Desert War, the battles in Italy and those following the D-Day landings, as well as the dramatic final push into Germany itself and the discovery of such Nazi horrors as Belsen. An exhaustive account of an elite organization's formative years, The SAS in World War II is the fruit of Gavin Mortimer's expertise and his unprecedented access to the SAS Regimental Archives. Incorporating interviews with the surviving veterans, it is the definitive account of the regiment's glorious achievements in the years from 1941 to 1945.
The night of July 26, 1942 saw one of the most audacious raids of World War II, just as the outcome of that conflict hung in the balance. In North Africa, a convoy of 18 Allied jeeps carrying Special Air Service personnel appeared out of the early-morning darkness and drove onto the Axis landing strip at Sidi Haneish in the Egyptian desert. Within the space of a few savage minutes 18 Axis aircraft were ablaze; a dozen more were damaged and scores of guards lay dead or wounded. The men responsible for the raid then vanished into the night as swiftly as they had arrived, prompting the Germans to dub the enemy leader, David Stirling, 'The Phantom Major'. Featuring full-colour artwork, gripping narrative and incisive analysis, this engaging study recounts the origins, planning, execution and aftermath of the daring raid that made the name of the SAS at the height of World War II.
In November 1941, a small party of British Commandos landed by submarine in Libya, tasked with the assassination of General Erwin Rommel, commander of the German forces in North Africa, who was believed to be staying in a villa near the coast. Three men - Lt-Col Geoffrey Keyes, Capt Robin Campbell and Sgt Jack Terry - stormed the villa, but the German general was nowhere to be found. In the confused fighting Keyes was killed and Campbell wounded; only two raiders would escape, one of whom was Terry. The raid made headlines round the free world, and Keyes was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. Yet in truth the raid had been a glorious failure, a mission bedevilled by bad planning and poor intelligence. Even so, crucial lessons were learned, particularly by the Special Air Service - who carried out their first mission on the same night as the raid on Rommel's HQ.
In his new book, WWII historian Gavin Mortimer examines the pivotal events of one of the most famous military units of all time. Starting with the unit's formation in July 1941, Mortimer recreates the heady days when a young Scots' Guard officer called David Stirling persuaded MEHQ to give its backing to a small band of 60 men christened 'L Detachment.' From there, drawing on over 100 hours of interviews with veterans (much of which has never before been published) he describes the early raids in the desert against Axis airfields that inflicted a deadly cost on the enemy. Embellished with 150 stunning photographs, the majority of which have never before been printed, the book also features side panels on the Lewes bomb, selection and training of personnel, the importance of the French and Belgian squadrons and how the French resistance helped the regiment in 1944.
With the rain driving against her goggles, Gertrude stole one or two glances toward the English coast, but it seemed if anything to be receding. 'After that, I felt I had better not look any more,' she said later, 'but just go on swimming as long as I could keep alive.' In the aftermath of the Great War when the world was still trying to bury its wounds, one story captivated Europe and America - the battle between four young women to be the first to conquer the formidable waters of the English Channel. Newspapers from Paris to New York engaged in rivalries nearly as competitive as the swimmers themselves, each backing a favourite which only fuelled the frenzy - Gertrude Ederle and Lilian Cannon, the two frontrunners, were sponsored by tabloid barons who used increasingly titillating photographs of them in their respective papers to drive circulation. But ultimately it was the sheer physical determination and courage of the women themselves, as they battled the weather, the odds and each other, that made this swim one of history's greatest sporting moments.
During the summer of 1926, four swimmers battled the weather, the odds and each other to become the first woman to conquer the formidable waters of the English Channel. In this text, the author paints a portrait of a gargantuan struggle that changed the way the world looked at women, both in sport and society.