Cassius - The True Story of a Courageous Police Dog

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: Kings Road Publishing

ISBN: 1857826574

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 300

View: 5523


Gordon Thorburn has worked as a copywriter, journalist, scriptwriter, editor and author. Books include Bombers, First and Last, Animal Spy, and the bestselling Men and Sheds. He lives in Norfolk.

Cassius

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: John Blake

ISBN: 9781844549856

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 244

View: 2702


Cassius was a truly exceptional police dog whose career became the stuff of legend and the gold standard for all dogs coming after. In just five years he scored a century of arrests, saved lives, bit half a dozen policemen, and gave his handler, PC Joe Sleightholm, the most exciting, exhilarating, and nerve-wracking times of his life. Things did not go according to plan in Sleightholm's first years as a police dog handler. The difficulties of finding and keeping the right dog were so great that he was ready to give up. Then Cass came along. The two of them quickly formed a bond, graduated as stars from the training school, and became an outstandingly effective working partnership. Cass became part of the Sleightholm family, too. Car thieves, armed robbers, drug dealers, murderers, burglars--Cassius learned to find them, contain them, intimidate, and attack if he had to. Sometimes it was dangerous for him. Usually it was more dangerous for the criminal. The story of Cassius is by turns thrilling, funny, and moving, and always a fascinating insight into the freemasonry of police dog training.

Merlin - The True Story of a Courageous Police Horse

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: Kings Road Publishing

ISBN: 1782199551

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 300

View: 2211


This is the true story of an unusual hero. Tall, dark and handsome and often surrounded by an admiring crowd, this is no film star but an eight-year-old bay gelding from the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police.From the Royal Wedding to the London riots to entertaining visitors outside Buckingham Palace, Merlin's career as a top police horse has been full of drama and unexpected challenges and his brave and loyal efforts have earned him celebrity status.Horses such as Merlin go through a challenging training process to prepare them for a life in the force. There are three stages of training: red, amber and green. Reports show that the young Merlin was sometimes naughty and spirited - but once his training was complete he was disciplined enough to maintain order at some of the toughest and most high profile events in London.This book looks at Merlin's daily life and duties and his fascinating partnership with his mounted police constable, Karen Howell. When Karen first met Merlin during his training it was love at first sight and over the years she has developed an intriguing bond with this brave, eccentric and deeply individual character.Including extracts from 'Merlin's Diary' and in-depth interviews with the officers who trained and work with Merlin day-to-day this book examines the extraordinary partnership between humans and horses in the modern police service. The author also delves into the surprising history of police horses in Britain and looks at how horses are a key part of law enforcement around the world.

The Pocket Guide to Sheds

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 1844689182

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 5828


As the globe warms, everything runs out and people become the willing slaves of small electronic machines, we have our response: the Golden Age of Sheds. We can look out from our sheds and see those unfortunates, the slaves in question, the ones who would rather be stripped naked and whipped through the market square than be separated, for one nanosecond, from their portable telephones and i-thingies, and we can smile.This book is where the smilers are. Here, you can find the man who reinvigorates the entente cordiale in wood, the woman who boils kettles, the woman who says 'I'm Nicola from In the Shed', the man who says 'What's yours?', the dooket that Jock built, the blockhouse that Noah built, a neoclassical stately home, and all manner of things musical, yogic, animalcular, roguish, ockerish and cloudy. Whether we see our shed as a place of work, a place of fun, a welcome refuge from normality, a shaded pool of tranquility, a realization of a secret yearning, a place to pot up the geraniums, or a little bit of all those things combined, we Sheddies, tribesfolk of the mighty Sheddici, hold one truth to be undeniable. We have our sheds, and the others haven't.

Fighter Pilot's Handbook - Magic, Death and Glory in the Golden Age of Flight

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: Metro Publishing

ISBN: 178418912X

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 300

View: 2769


In the early days of flight, no one imagined the aeroplane as a weapon of war. Inevitably, the First World War proved the catalyst that was to change the face of battle for ever. But at the war’s outbreak, military aircraft, most of which were slow and stable two-seat biplanes, were held to have only one useful function: reconnaissance.It was not long, however, before pilots had the idea of dropping explosives from their cockpits. Once machine guns began to be fitted to aircraft, two factors immediately became clear: reconnaissance aircraft needed to be defended, and enemy machines had to be attacked and destroyed. So was born the ‘scout’ (as fighter aircraft were known then), to be followed, before long, by the ‘aces’ who flew them.In this wide-ranging and extremely readable study of the fighter pilot’s skills, training and experiences from the early days of flight, and the development of the machines they flew, the author, who has written widely on aerial warfare, takes the reader on a journey from the first flying machines in the late nineteenth century, to the development of the specialised fighter aircraft armed with one or more machine guns, and capable, by the war’s end, of speeds of 140mph and more. Along the way he takes in the development of the devices that allowed a machine gun to fire through the propeller arc, the coming of aerial photography and airborne wireless, parachutes, engine design, test flying and problems of flight, including the dreaded ‘spin’ that killed so may pilots, and the invention of aerial tactics such as the Immelmann Turn.Here, too, are the aces, the pilots who became famous and fêted at home for their exploits, at a time when newspapers were filled with ever-lengthening casualty lists from the Western Front. Some, like Germany’s Manfred von Richthofen - the ‘Red Baron’ - Britain’s James McCudden and Eddie Rickenbacker of the USA, are still well-known today, while others like Raymond Collishaw of the Royal Naval Air Service, France’s René Fonck, and Aleksandr Kazakov of the Imperial Russian Air Service are less prominent.In 1914 it was all new, this business of flying at the enemy. It is a story of creativity, of machines, experiments, turning points, ebb and flow, heroes. Starting from almost nothing, the fighting men tried out their ideas and established the principles that ultimately made aircraft the most important weapon of all.

Luck of a Lancaster

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 1783469951

Category: History

Page: 240

View: 5790


No 9 Squadron of Bomber Command converted from the Wellington to the Lancaster in August 1942. W4964 was the seventieth Lanc to arrive on squadron, in mid April 1943. She flew her first op on the 20th, by which time No 9 had lost forty-one of their Lancs to enemy action and another five had been transferred to other squadrons and lost by them. No 9 would soon lose a further thirteen of the seventy. All of the remaining eleven would be damaged, repaired, transferred to other squadrons or training units, and lost to enemy action or crashes except for three which, in some kind of retirement, would last long enough to be scrapped after the war.Only one of the seventy achieved a century of ops or anything like it: W4964 WS-J.Across all squadrons and all the war, the average life of a Lancaster was 22.75 sorties, but rather less for the front-line squadrons going to Germany three and four times a week in 1943 and '44, which was when W4964 was flying her 107 sorties, all with No 9 Squadron and all from RAF Bardney. The first was Stettin (Szczecin in modern Poland), and thereafter she went wherever 9 Squadron went, to Berlin, the Ruhr, and most of the big ops of the time such as Peenemnde and Hamburg. She was given a special character as J-Johnny Walker, still going strong and on September 15 1944, skippered by Flight Lieutenant James Douglas Melrose, her Tallboy special bomb was the only one to hit the battleship Tirpitz.During her career, well over two hundred airmen flew in J. None were killed while doing so, but ninety-six of them died in other aircraft. This is their story, and the story of one lucky Lancaster.

Pocket Guide to Pubs and Their Histories

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 1844689336

Category: Cooking

Page: 192

View: 5543


Is there really a pub called The Toad Rock Retreat? Which one town has the pubs with both the longest and the shortest names? How many Lions, Crowns and Horses are there? How many pubs are called The Speculation, The Triple Plea, The Welcome Stranger? Why would you give your pub a name like The Geese Have Gone Over The Water? The author, in his valiant attempt to answer these and many other questions, has produced a book which is surely essential reading.What exactly is a pub? What should pubs be like? Why do we think that way? Is there a perfect pub? Can we imagine one that nobody would ever go in? Who does go in pubs, and why, and for what? Where is the straightest pub crawl? So, how did we get where we are, and where do we go from here? Whether it's to The King's Head, The Queen's Arms, The Three Legs or The Eel's Foot, be sure to take this book with you.

More Luck of a Lancaster

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 1473897688

Category: History

Page: 176

View: 4411


From 11 June 1943 (the date of Lancaster Mark III EE136 WS/R's first op) to her last with 9 Squadron (on 19 October 1944), eighty-six Lancasters were assigned to Number 9. Of these, fifty were lost to enemy action, another five crashed at home, three crashed in Russia on the first Tirpitz raid and four were transferred to other squadrons only to be lost by them, leaving just twenty-four still flying.As more came in, three of those twenty-four were transferred to a new squadron, the reforming No 189. These were EE136 (93 operations), PB146 (36 ops), and LM745 (four ops). All three saw the war out, unlike so many others. During 189 Squadron's operational period featuring EE136 (1 November 1944 to 3 February 1945) thirty-four Lancasters came on the strength of which nine were lost in that time. Over the operational lifetime of Lancaster EE136, forty-two different skippers took her on her grand total of 109 trips. Altogether, 315 men flew on ops in this machine, many of them more than once - the most 'capped' captain, F/O Roy Lake, twenty-two times - and of those men, 101 were killed in other aircraft.Those are the statistics. But this is the story of the men behind the numbers.

The Squadron That Died Twice - The story of No. 82 Squadron RAF, which in 1940 lost 23 out of 24 aircraft in two bombing raids

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: Metro Publishing

ISBN: 1784186937

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 300

View: 7527


Apart from the quiet chatter of a few mechanics, who were checking that one aircraft was too badly damaged ever to fly again, there was a shocked silence over the aerodrome as everyone there tried to understand the impossible.Twelve twin-engined bombers of 82 Squadron RAF had set out on a fi ne May morning in 1940, from Watton, Norfolk, in a brave but hopeless attempt to slow down the German armour ripping through Belgium. Sergeant Thomas 'Jock' Morrison was the pilot of the only one to come home.Heavy losses in Bomber Command in the Second World War were common, normal, came with the territory, but this? Eleven out of twelve were shot down, by flak and fighters, and lay in burning fragments along the Belgium/ France border.It is said that history repeats itself. And so it was, almost exactly three months later, on a cloudy day in August 1940, that twelve more twin-engined Bristol Blenheim bombers, each with a crew of three men, set off from Watton, Norfolk, in a brave but hopeless attempt to destroy a Luftwaffe base in enemy-occupied Denmark. One aircraft had to turn for home before it reached the target. The other eleven pressed on as the clouds disappeared and, on a fi ne sunny morning, were all shot down, by flak and fighters, and lay in burning fragments on the shores of the Lymfjord.At the time, when the whole world was trying to understand the impossible, how Germany could conquer Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium and France in a few weeks, and Poland before that - and surely Great Britain next? - 82 Squadron's disasters were barely noticed.Based on the accounts of survivors and on squadron and other records, Gordon Thorburn's moving retelling of the story, of the events of it and the men in it, at last puts right that terrible omission.

A Century of Air Warfare With Nine (IX) Squadron, RAF

Author: Gordon Thorburn

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 147383841X

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 6982


In the earliest days of World War One, when IX Squadron was formed, we went to the fight in little 50mph machines that were barely capable of taking pilot and observer, a gun and a few small, hand-held bombs into the sky, especially on a windy day. When we took a wireless set, to spot for the artillery and report on troop movements, the extra load forced the defenceless pilot to leave his observer behind.A century later, IX (B) Squadron flies jets that can exceed the speed of sound, place laser-guided missiles within a few centimetres of the target, and transmit the most complex data in real time across the globe.In between, the tale is of ponderous beasts of biplanes, of Wellingtons and Lancasters in the bloody battles of World War Two, of Canberras and Vulcans in the nuclear age of the Cold War.Above all, it's the story of the men and women of the RAF's senior bomber squadron across a hundred years of war and peace, and their words fill this book. We go from those beginnings in wood, wire and fabric kites over France and a pilot armed with a service revolver, to the world's first Tornado squadron in the Gulf wars, over Kosovo and Afghanistan, and so to the present, a century on.It really is one hell of a story.