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Gunpowder and Glory

by Harry Smee, Henry Macrory

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month History

LoveReading View on Gunpowder and Glory

Wing Commander Frank Brock OBE was a daredevil adventurer who made a unique contribution to the British war effort during World War I.

Gunpowder and Glory tells the story, not just of Frank Brock, but of the family business he was born into. Brock is a name synonymous with fireworks and November 5th. Brock himself was an inventor who is one of very few people to have been commissioned in all three of our armed services. He designed weapons that included the incendiary device that brought an end to Zeppelin domination of British skies. This book has all the ingredients for an explosive and entertaining yarn. It doesn’t disappoint.

A fascinating and well-researched read, not just for military enthusiasts but for anybody interested in fireworks, and the workings of a successful family business. 

Matt Johnson

Gunpowder and Glory Synopsis

Frank Brock only lived to be 33. Nonetheless, he did more in that short life than most men could accomplish in several. The hottest fires burn most quickly and here was a man who burned brightly, extinguished in a blaze of glory.

The scion of the world-famous Brock Fireworks was killed in action in Belgium during the most daring British raid of WWI, with a cutlass in one hand and a revolver in the other.

Picture a daredevil combatant, elite athlete, secret agent and brilliant inventor all rolled into a precocious boy raised in a fireworks family that allowed him to become a pyrotechnical genius. There you have Frank Brock - remarkable combination of James Bond, Thomas Edison, Indiana Jones, and MacGyver. Gunpowder and Glory is the first-ever biography of Brock, an unheralded hero of WWI whose contribution to the war effort saved tens of thousands of lives and helped to end The Great War.

Frank could easily have been the template for 007. He was:

·A heavyweight boxer and powerhouse rugby player

·An expert marksman and oarsman

·A first-rate pilot

·Commissioned in all three branches of the armed services – army, navy, and air force – in WWI

·An inventor who ended Germany’s dream of air supremacy with his pioneering Brock Bullet.

·Ingenious and he helped prevent German domination of the English Channel by inventing Dover Flares which lit up the sea at night and forced U-boats into deep mine fields.

Still, his exploits did not end there. As a secret agent Brock dashed to France on his wedding day, snuck into Switzerland, rowed across Lake Constance into enemy territory, and orchestrated the world’s first strategic bombing raid – ordered by Winston Churchill himself – at the zeppelin factory in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Lastly, on the day of his untimely death, he led the charge in a surprise naval attack only made possible by the artificial fog he invented to mask their daring approach.

Co-authored by his grandson, Gunpowder and Glory tells more than Brock’s amazing life of invention and heroism. Woven into the narrative is the dazzling history of C.T. Brock & Company Fireworks, the world-famous firm started by Frank’s five-times great-grandfather.

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Gunpowder and Glory Press Reviews

Accessibly and attractively written . . . a fascinating story of one of the most amazing figures in the history of the Royal Navy and a recommended read. - Navy News

Gunpowder & Glory is a glorious book to read, told at a racing pace and well-illustrated. This is a must read book. - Warships International

A book that reads like fascinating dinner conversation. - The Spectator

The real life Q and Bond all rolled into one... the first biography of a man whose initials appropriately spelt FAB. - RAF News

A fascinating and engaging biography that will add depth and colour to any Great War Guide's knowledge. - Despatches

A fascinating combination of military and corporate history. This fascinating book does a good job of telling their story. - Baird Maritime

Frank Brock is a hero whose story needs to be told. - The Globe and Laurel

Written in a very readable rollicking style of Wing Commander Frank Brock OBE, a quite extraordinary character who made a unique and special contribution in World War I... It provides a fascinating and at times a gripping read and is certainly well recommended. - Scuttlebutt 12/06/2020

This very readable book has many connections with the subcontinent, and the story of fireworks and their role as entertainment and spectacle over the centuries is a bonus. - Durbar 09/06/2020

It is a fascinating story in its own right! This is a great book, easy to read and with much background information useful for wargamers. Brock himself is larger than life and an astonishing figure; strongly recommended. - Miniature Wargames

The first biography of Frank Brock, one of Sutton's most famous residents, has just been published. - Sutton Voice

..its fascinating dust cover is based on a Brock's poster for the Crystal Palace summer display season of 1909, the fireworks for which were made in the factory on Gander Green Lane. - Past on Glass blog

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781612008448
Publication date: 16/03/2020
Publisher: Casemate Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781612008448
Publication date: 16th March 2020
Author: Harry Smee, Henry Macrory
Publisher: Casemate Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 272 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, History,
Categories: First World War, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,

About Harry Smee, Henry Macrory

Harry Smee is the grandson of Frank Brock. Henry Macrory was deputy editor of the Sunday Express and worked in 10 Downing Street for the coalition government. Henry Macrory was deputy editor and acting editor of the Sunday Express. He moved from newspapers into political communications and worked in 10 Downing Street for the Coalition Government. He is the author of Ultimate Folly (2018).

More About Harry Smee, Henry Macrory

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