The Cinderella Service: RAF Coastal Command 1939 - 1945

Published: February 26th, 2011     
Product Image
Cover art
Author: Andrew Hendrie
Reviewed by: 
Paul Bradley, IPMS# 35554
Company: Pen and Sword Books Ltd
ISBN #: 978-1848842021
Other Publication Information: 6 x 9, 272 pages, 100 illustrations, 9781848842021, paperback
Price: $24.95

In 1936, the Royal Air Force reorganized into a series of task-specific commands; the most famous were Fighter Command and Bomber Command, which played very public roles in the defeat of Nazi Germany. However, another, perhaps more vital battle was being fought by an unsung command over the frigid waters of the North Sea and North Atlantic - Coastal Command. Its role in defeating the U-boat threat and keeping the seas open for vital supply convoys to reach Britain enabled the beleaguered country to weather the nadir of the war in 1941-2, allowing the US to resupply the British armed forces and build up her own troop strength on British soil prior to the liberation of mainland Europe. That important role has been largely unsung over the years, earning the Command the nickname of the 'Cinderella Service' that inspired the title of the book.

Coastal Command has also been poorly served by authors and historians over the years, there being a handful of authors who have tackled the subject. The author of this book, Andrew Hendrie, was a Coastal Command crewman during WWII, and so has good first-hand knowledge of the subject. He has also done his research as well (this book was created from his doctoral thesis) and makes full use of official documents. All this leads to a fact-filled study interspersed with some personal reminisces by both the author and other wartime Coastal Command crew.

What this book is not is a jolly good read - it is a bit dry, and, being fact-filled, the narrative doesn't flow too well. In addition, the author tends to jump around a bit with subject material, leaving the whole a bit disjointed. However, if you are a student of Coastal Command operations, this is a very useful book indeed. Recommended but with reservations.

My thanks to Casemate Publishing and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

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