Well what a difference a year makes! We started 2010 with a Labour Government, a Royal Navy with aircraft carriers and harriers, Pompey were (just) in the Pemieriship, this blog was getting 2,000 hits a month, and I was about as single as those things that appear in the top 40!!!
In military terms the biggest story has been the brutal cuts of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. Put bluntly, the Army did OK thanks to the prominence of Afghanistan and the lobbying of people such as Richard Dannatt, the RAF did its usual slick string-pulling exercise to keep its Ferraris going, and the Navy got hammered. On a brighter note Navy Days in Portsmouth was a real highlight – in hindsight ‘enjoy it while you can’ might have been an apt slogan for the event.
In the general election people voted ‘for change’, without thinking that change can also take you backwards as well as forwards. Sadly over the next 12 months many people who currently have jobs may find themselves with a lot more time on their hands.
On a personal level, this blog has gone from strength to strength – only the other day we received our 80,000th visitor since we began back in July 2009. On 11 November – Remembrance Day, fittingly – we had our highest ever number of visitors, 439 in one day. A big thank you to everyone who has visited, and particularly those of you who have stuck around and contributed.
Away from the blog, I enjoyed giving four talks on ‘what my family did during the war’. I am in the advanced stages of talks with a publisher to get ‘Portsmouth’s Second World War Heroes’ published. Most of the research is done, and I’m now in the process of writing it up. If all goes to plan, hopefully it will materialise sometime late in 2011.
And now, time for a few awards…
Best WW2 Book I have read this year
Danger UXB by James Owen… honourable mentions for Mother Country by Stephen Bourne; The Battle for Burma by Roy Conyers Nesbit; UXB Malta by S.A.M. Hudson
Best WW1 Book I have read this year
Mud Blood and Bullets by Edward Rowbotham… honourable mentions for The Great Western Railway in the First World War by Sandra Gittins and Kut: Courage and Failure in Iraq 1916 by Patrick Crowley.
Best ‘other’ History book I have read this year
A Long Long War by Ken Wharton… honourable mentions for Bloody Belfast by Ken Wharton and Crimson Snow by Jules Stewart
Best Fiction I have read this year
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks… honourable mentions for New York by Edward Rutherfurd and All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
… and finally, I would like to thank you all for your support and encouragement, and I hope you all have a great 2011.