Présentation de l'éditeur
BEFORE I FORGET - ONE MAN'S RADAR WAR is a richly readable account of the life of a young RAF serviceman during WW2. It is a personal memoir of wartime through the eyes of one young man determined to live life to the full while always trying to do the decent thing. Sometimes even finding fun during the fight against fascism. As you read his story you will meet his young wife for the first time and watch their relationship develop under the cloud of war and enforced separation. You will be with them as their son is born during the Little Blitz while V1s rain down on London. And when the first of the V2 rockets strikes a few streets away from their home you will travel with George as he goes AWOL to spirit mother and baby away from London to safety in the English countryside. The top secret radar system George Phelps helped maintain made precision bombing possible for the first time. Seventy years on, the story of this system (nicknamed OBOE) is almost forgotten. Yet it did much to turn the tide of WW2. But this book is much more than a history of OBOE. This is, above all, a human story – wartime history seen through a wide variety of individuals all making sense of it in their own different ways. There are football matches, black marketeers and US servicemen - “overpaid, oversexed and over here”, as the saying went at the time. But there are also glimpses of the awful realities of war – a sad insight into American losses on D-Day, a visit to a concentration camp, and a journey through the ruins of Essen, where the OBOE story began – now flattened and devastated by a series of thousand-bomber raids. OBOE was a brilliant breakthrough in the use of radio transmission to pinpoint a bomber's position in the air and trigger the bomb release at the precise moment necessary to deliver it on to a target up to 35,000 feet below with an incredible degree of accuracy. It was thought at first that it could only be used once before the Germans found a way to jam it, but OBOE continued to direct raids on a regular basis for a some 18 months in the middle of the war, helping the RAF to carry out precision bombing raids on Germany's vital industrial heartland of the Ruhr. Working in radar installations on the east coast of England, George Phelps was a long way from the fighting. At first his leisure hours were filled with card games and what seemed like nightly dances, generally with plenty of pretty young WAAFs in attendance. But towards the end of the war, when the brand-new technology of microwave transmission (antecedent of almost all the modern communications revolution) enabled the miniaturization of OBOE, mobile units were formed which travelled into Europe behind the advancing D-Day armies. Even then, though, George's war seemed to consist mostly of softball matches organized by the Canadian airmen now attached to his unit, and dances. Always dances, and plenty of girls – only this time they were in Alsace, newly liberated from Germany. And when his unit came anywhere near the enemy (as they did), they had to pick their top secret equipment up and run away as fast as they could. BEFORE I FORGET is the story of five years of one young man's life, finding fun, friendship and laughter amid the turmoil of WW2. Doing a job that took a new technological war to the Germans – but always, somehow, able to find a dance to go to, and pretty girl to enjoy it with.
Biographie de l'auteur
STEPHEN PHELPS is a writer, producer, and broadcaster. After fifteen years in television investigative journalism for the BBC and Channel 4, he turned to writing and now specializes in history and radio drama. STEPHEN PHELPS has compiled Before I Forget from his late father's personal memoir. He lives in le Marche, Italy.