Subject Areas:History, Military, Travel, WW2 History
Name & Location:Mr Malcolm BROOKE York
Contact & Website:
Subjects:What can I say? We always give our speakers a mark out of ten but yours was the first to score 11!!!
It really was excellent. You got all three aspects so right. Your research was impeccable; the visual presentation the best we have seen but most of all, you were able to put it over so well.
So thank you, very well done indeed.
Credit by R.S. - of Collingham Retired Mens Forum

Talks and full screen computer presentations on:

1) A Bomber Memorial in Denmark - The day that changed my life:
The story of a holiday in Denmark when, on my way to Pirate Island, I found a memorial to a crashed Lancaster. This discovery led me on another journey to find out what I could about those involved. What events led to a German night-fighter shooting down three Lancasters over southern Denmark and what was so important about the RAF's operations that night in August 1943?
The follow on from the initial investigation led me to become the Webmaster of the 49 Squadron Association.

2) Peenemünde and the V2s:
The development of the V2 and the planning and execution of the raid on 18th August 1943. This is a more technical version of "The day that changed my life" presentation and looks at the detailed intelligence gathering and planning for this raid together with the difficulties experienced by both sides.

3) Cyprus... Blessed by nature and cursed by history:
An overview of life in Cyprus from personal experiences. I went there as a young teacher in 1973 and currently spend part of the year living there. The presentation quickly runs through 3,500 years of history and, following a pictorial tour of the island, concentrates on the events following independence in 1960. In 1974 I experienced the coup and Turkish invasion; the wounds are still visible to this day.

4) The "Cyprus Green Line" - Exploring the Buffer Zone:
The Green Line today is a 180km long Buffer Zone between the Greek & Turkish Cyprus where the UN attempt to maintain the ?status quo?. The presentations look at the history of how the Green Line came into being and include first-hand experience of walking through no man?s land in Nicosia. This section of the Buffer Zone was once the most densely militarized area in the world. In recent years we have travelled the length of the Buffer Zone to see the scars that remain to this day.?Note: Shorter versions of this talk and "The History of Nicosia Airport" can be combined into one standard length presentation if required.

5) Arteries of the Reich - Attacking Germany's transport infrastructure:
The attacks on the Dortmund Ems and Mittelland Canals and the first use of the Grand Slam against the Bielefeld Viaduct. The canals and railways were vital to the German war industry and both sides were determined to either keep them open or destroy them. In September 1943, many of the survivors of the famous "Dambuster" raid died in an attempt to breach the Dortmund Ems Canal. One section of the Mittelland Canal was the most intensely bombed area during WW2. Local residents would say, "when the canal is full then it is time to be careful."
The much-bombed viaduct near Bielefeld was finally destroyed using the Barnes Wallis "earthquake bomb".

6) The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall and Inner German Border:
Following the division of Germany in 1945, freedom of movement was restricted in 1952 by the construction and development of the Inner German Border... between the Soviet and the US/UK/FR sectors.
The presentation looks at the events that led to the 1961 building of the Berlin Wall and the fascinating background to how it came 'crashing' down. I was fortunate to be living in Germany at the time and experienced first-hand the dramatic events of November 1989.
This presentation is also available in two parts for those wanting more details.

7) York's Baedeker Raid - April 1942:
The background to the Baedeker Raids and the technology available in 1942 to locate and defend targets. Was there only "the lone French airman" defending York and what actually happened to the troop train in York station.
The events of April 29th 1942 in the air and on the ground, are explained. The presentation concludes with a 'then & now' journey through parts of York.

8) The Clumsy End to WW2 - The three surrenders:
The end of WW2 came with a confusing number of different surrenders. This presentation starts by looking at the secret negotiations that led to the "sports-jacket surrender" at Caserta and visits the site of Montgomery's caravan on the Lueneburg Heath, the well-known Rheims location and the final confirmation ceremony in Berlin. We finish on Bear Island in September 1945.

9) UNFICYP - 50+ years and still counting:
In March 1964 the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus began operations with a three-month mandate. The presentation looks the decision to create a British led "Joint/Truce" Force, at the difficult birth of UNFICYP and how its role has changed over the years.
Currently UNFICYP maintains the "status quo" within the Buffer Zone which divides Greek & Turkish Cyprus. As well as looking at various crises faced by the UN, the 180km long Buffer Zone is pictorially explored.

10) Berlin........A tale of two cities:
I worked in Berlin during the final year of Allied control (1994) and saw the great changes as they happened. This presentation looks at the origin of the special status of Berlin and the many delights it offered to anybody interested in military history.......from the huge flak towers in the parks to the Führer bunker lost below modern blocks of flats.
The Berliners have a great sense of humour and many of the city's landmark buildings have somewhat irreverent names!?I was present at the final Allied parades and was able to explore what the occupying armies left behind.

11) Bomber Command - the story of just one squadron:
This presentation looks at the history of 49 Squadron. They were formed in 1916, disbanded in 1919 and reformed as WW2 approached. During WW2 they flew Hampdens, Manchesters and then Lancasters. In the immediate post war years they flew Lincolns and saw service in Kenya. In their final years they flew Valiants and were involved with the nuclear tests of the late 1950s.
The presentation looks at some of the personalities, the locations they flew from and some of the operations that decimated the squadron.
The project to photograph the headstones of all those who died serving with the squadron was a very moving experience.

12) My Neighbour Armageddon - The story of Project Emily:
Between the years 1959-1963, sixty Thor missiles with nuclear warheads were stationed in twenty different locations close to the east coast of England. They were based around Driffield in Yorkshire, Hemswell in Lincolnshire, North Luffenham in Rutland and Feltwell in Norfolk.
The presentation also looks at the development of the ballistic missile and the arms race during this period of the Cold War. The Cuban missile crisis brought all these locations to a 15-minute readiness. What remains of these sites is also explored.

13) Faith, Hope & Charity - The story of the Malta Gladiators:
I was brought up reading how three RAF Gladiators saved Malta in WW2. The story has a basis in history but has been somewhat romanticised and exaggerated. However, it is still a tale of heroism and one that boosted the morale of the population during exceedingly difficult days.
Were there just three of these obsolete fighters and from where did their names originate?

14)Nicosia Airport - A short and troubled history:
In the 1920s an airfield was laid out on a barren rocky plateau with no facilities. Development only began with the outbreak of WW2.?The enlarged airfield was active during the Suez campaign, expanded with the growing tourist industry and opened a comfortable new terminal in 1968.?There was a very tense situation in July 1974 when British armoured vehicles stood in the way of the invading Turkish army who were intent on capturing the airport.
Since the events of 1974 the airport has been closed to all aircraft except UN helicopters and the entire complex is now designated a "United Nations Protected Area"
Note: Shorter versions of this talk and "The Cyprus Green Line" can be combined into one standard length presentation if required.

15) Bomber Command as viewed in 1946 & 2020 (requires a double session with an interval):
My father had a set of books titled "The Second World War in Pictures".
When I was reading them during the recent lockdowns I became aware of the events that were not recorded and the huge inaccuracies in what was reported.
The presentation looks at the history of Bomber Command as it was known in 1946 and compares this to what we know now.

16) Cockerel Feathers and Fine Leather Stitching - Highs and lows of Italy's WW2 (requires a double session with an interval):
This presentation explains how Italy became involved in WW2 and looks at the "highs & lows" of their three armed services - the army, airforce and navy.
They experienced over three years of very mixed fortunes including their disastrous involvement in the Battle of Britain to the huge success of their manned mini-submarine programme.

17) The Siege of Malta in WW2 (requires a double session with an interval):
Malta suffered greatly when it was one of the most intensely bombed locations during WW2. The fate of the island hung in the balance on more than one occasion until hugely expensive supply convoys managed to reach the island. The balance of power swung between the Axis and Allied forces and was intricately linked to the successes of both sides in the North Africa campaign.

18) Yorkshire's Vanishing Coastline:
A meze of coastal erosion stories with some added military history. The East Coast of Yorkshire is a fascinating stretch of coastline to visit. Over the years villages and individual farms have been lost to the sea and it is the location of a fictitious German invasion, vanishing gun batteries and other intriguing military activity.

Malcolm's Military History website:

Availability & Fee:By Arrangement Out of the UK from March to June£40.00 Plus travel exs
Requirements: S, EClick for requirements explanation
Areas Covered: All Yorkshire covered
Search Again ]