Armoured Odyssey: 8th Royal Tank Regiment in the Western Desert 1941-1942: Palestine, Syria, Egypt 1943-1944: Italy 1944-1945 - Major Stuart Hamilton MCLondon: Tom Donovan, 1995, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Good+ Dust Wrapper. A little faded at the spine and onto the margins of the panels of the dust wrapper. Top edges of the text block spotted. Pages very gently age-tanned.
Includes: Black & white photographs; Maps; Roll of honour; Glossary;
From the cover: “…I remember very clearly indeed when I looked down into the smoking interior of my turret, after we were hit, and saw what had happened to my poor gunner, saying grimly to myself: ‘Christ Almighty! Stu! — this is war,’ and in that moment I grew up from the naive, innocent young idiot I had been the day or so before.
There is a nagging, intriguing, question for which those who have not fought in war crave the answer: What is it like to fight — to be in action, firing and under fire? And further, what is fear and would they cope with it?
Stuart Hamilton provides the answer.
Armoured Odyssey is his gripping account of his service as a tank commander — later a squadron commander — with the 8th Royal Tank Regiment in North Africa, Syria and Italy with 8th Army. At the end of the war he was still with the regiment he had gone overseas with in 1941 — one of only three of the original officers to survive.
By the end in Italy I was bloody scared all the tune, but all the new officers were sent to me: ‘stick to Ham — he knows the ropes’. So I had to carry on.
Stuart Hamilton wrote this book because he felt there had to be a record of what it was like to be a member of a tank crew in the heat and dust of battle in the Western Desert and in the arduous terrain of the Italian campaign. Also, until now there has existed no satisfactory record of 8th RTR — a regular regiment — in the Second World War.
The result is an incredibly thrilling and vivid narrative which takes the reader right into Hamilton’s tank, with tracer bullets whipping around the turret and German tanks just yards away. We read, too, of the change a man and a regiment undergo from being green newcomers to grizzled veterans, along with insights into the author’s own state of mind and body as the campaign progresses.”