In 1940 Eric Nudd, like millions of others, found himself unexpectedly in uniform – a raw conscript in a heavy anti-aircraft regiment.
He grew over the next five years into a seasoned professional with the Normandy and Northwest European campaigns under his belt. A previously unsuspected talent for maths took him from heaving shells to fire-control and then radar, giving him a ringside view of the manic wartime technology race.
As a Fleet Street journalist, prolific letter-writer and occasional poet Eric published improvised news sheets from a succession of gun sites and dugouts. His story is told by a ‘civilian-in-uniform’ who was an acute observer and literate recorder of what he saw. His wry, sometimes scathing observations on the humour and idiocy of army life, and the military, political and cultural events of the time are set against the global cataclysm going on around him.
The author colours in the background for those of us lucky enough to have missed it, providing a new perspective – from underneath — on the anti-aircraft forces who, for a while after the fall of France, were the only part of the army shooting back.
Derek was interviewed on Portillo’s Hidden History of Britain (no longer available on catch-up but the clip can be seen on YouTube).