Here is a list of books we have used as reference materials for our EXPED. This will be added to periodically. If you have a recommended book or publication that will be of use and interest to us please post in the discussion forum or email us direct and it will be added. It is hoped to add reviews as well but most of these books have been reviewed to death elsewhere and only relevant comments will be made as we are too busy trying to make this expedition a success by raising funds.
Regards Gary A Wallace. – Got something to say? get in touch.
The first book that sparked off the whole idea of an EXPED.
Libyan Sands (Hardback) – by Ralph A. Bagnold.1935.Hodder & Stoughton,London
Great read and the idea of romantic excursions into the unexplored deserts of N.Africa conjures up pictures of wide open expanses of endless sand, rocky outcrops, nomadic tribes and Boys Own Adventures. Thoroughly recommended, might need to search for it as it is hard to find. Can be pricey but I got an original for £5.95.
Amazon had some in used listings. click on image to take you to Amazon.co.uk
Sahara Overland, 2nd Edition: A Route and Planning Guide (Trailblazer)Sahara Overland, 2nd Edition: A Route and Planning Guide (Trailblazer) by Chris Scott
Everything you need to know about travelling the whole of the Sahara from maps, routes, GPS, survival, vehicles, contacts, etc An essential reference manual for al things desert. Can’t put it down. This will be packed for the trip.
Again see Amazon for price and availability. hardback more durable than paperback
Bearded Brigands: The LRDG in the Diaries/Photographs of Trooper Frank Jopling by Brendan O’Carroll
As it says in the title, excellent review of life in the LRDG from the very start. A personal account by Frank Jopling. Again available on Amazon
Kiwi Scorpions: New Zealanders in the Long Range Desert Group in World War II by Brendan O’Carroll
Kiwi Scorpions is an excellent reference book covering all aspects of the LRDG ranging from the Officers and Men, vehicles and equipment and detailed accounts of operations, raids and battles. There is a lot of good reference photographs, illustrations and maps. Brendan O’Carroll has included everything you ever might want to know about the LRDG in one great book.
THE LONG RANGE DESERT GROUP’S GREATEST ESCAPADE
Excellent book concentrating on a daring raid against an overwhelming enemy. Luck, bravado and sheer genius carried this raid off.
Available from Ngaio Press
Special Forces in the Desert War (Public Record Office War Histories)Special Forces in the Desert War (Public Record Office War Histories) by Public Record Office
Official war diary records of operations by LRDG, SAS and Commandos in the western desert. Bit dry reading but gets more interesting as it goes on. Well edited to just the facts and cuts out a lot of unnecessary blurb.
Available from Amazon – click on image for Amazon.co.uk
Equipment of the WWII Tommy by David B. Gordon
Excellent reference book about ALL WWII tommy equipment -hundreds of photos and hard to find elsewhere references. A font of knowledge along with it’s sister’s books on uniforms and weapons. Listed but very pricey now from Amazon.com (USA). Have found same for 1/3rd price from Soldier of Fortune shop -see image
Uniforms of the WWII Tommy by David B. Gordon
As above but all about every uniform used, different makers, labels, marks 1,2,3,etc and lots of pictures and colour plates. A collectors dream
Not as pricey as above but well worth it from Amazon.com(USA)
WEAPONS OF THE WWII TOMMY by David Gordon
As above, another excellent read with all the weapons and more. great pictures and colour plates, essential read for authenticity. Amazon.com (USA) at $24.99
The SAS Tracking & Navigation HandbookThe SAS Tracking & Navigation Handbook by Neil Wilson
As it says on the cover, good basic book with lots of hints and tips for general use, nothing on sand compasses or a lot of desert work
Good reference from Amazon.co.uk Click on image to go there.
SAS Handbook of Living off the Land, The SAS Handbook of Living off the Land, by Chris McNab
Basic survival guide, bought for £3 in bargain bookstore but Amazon has it for £1. Interesting stuff with all important surviving in the Desert Pages 124-140 -good advice and guide, well worth the paltry sum paid for it.
Click to go to Amazon.co.uk Be warned postage will be more than book Hehe
Daggers Drawn by Mike Morgan.
Here is an account of all the main characters who were involved with the forming and fighting within the SAS and SBS. David and Bill Stirling, Lord Jellicoe, Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne and scores of others are referenced in detail. In the appendices are good maps of all their areas of operation, lists of medal, awards and citation holders and a small bibliography. Well worth a good read to find out what made these brave men famous and helped the Unit grow into from it’s inception into what we know today.
In Rommel’s Backyard by Alastair Timpson.
Timpson’s involvement with the LRDG is legendary and his book gives all the details of his war and the time with these famous soldiers. Not only a personal account but some excellent details on the people he worked with, the trips out behind enemy lines and the terrain etc that was covered etc.
The Desert my Dwelling Place. ByDavid Lloyd Owen
Another famous leader within the LRDG. Similar to Timpson’s book, Lloyd Owen gives a whole range of personal observations, accounts and reflections. Like most other similar books of the same period and area of operation, there is a lot of overlap and bleed over with reports from others written on the same subject. Lloyd Owen puts his own slant on things and how he and his patrols dealt with the differing situations and dangers encountered on a daily basis so far behind enemy lines with little or no back up except of that within their own patrol.
Born of the Desert. By Malcolm James
What was it like to be the official Doctor within one of the most famous and tough Special Force units in WW2? James informs the reader of how he ended up (or was that started with) in the SAS. He explains fully about the structure and resources, and lack of, he used to look after these tough soldiers. His rendition of raids, trips and his part in them make good reading. He provided a very necessary service and helped save lives, patch up wounds and maintain health care to the unit at all levels.
G Patrol By Michael Chricton Stuart.
G for Guards Patrol of the LRDG. Another account of the setting up of G Patrol who were formed some 3 months after the NZ Patrols and drawn from the Guards Division with high calibre volunteers initially from the Scots and Coldstream Guards, closely followed by others. Chricton Stuart explains the pitfalls, the limitations and some of the highs within a closely knit unit. Accounts from the G Patrols perspective; including their raids, road watches, forward bases and working alongside all of their counterparts across the LRDG.
Arabian Sands By Wilfred Thesiger
Although totally unrelated with regard to the LRDG, Thesiger was part of the Western Desert Campaigns and was involved with SAS, Commando and LRDG actions as well as working in the desert and Egypt. This book is mainly about his working with the Bedu, living with them and becoming one of them whilst exploring the Empty Quarter across the many territories in Arabia. Travelling by foot and camel he gives fascinating accounts over some 15 years of the hardships, tribal warfare, warlords, sheiks and exploring of new and undiscovered lands (by Europeans) often in hostile company. At times, he was funded by the Locust Recording and Monitoring Service, to look for the source and breeding areas of locusts before they swarmed and ate their way across large tracts of lands causing famine and starvation in some of the most deprived lands in North Africa. His writing of the people, culture and being accepted as one of them conjures up dreams of Lawrence of Arabia and distant oases filled with palms and dates. I learned more about camels, the different breeds and how they were loved and looked after by the Bedu and other nomadic tribes than I had ever known before. Excellent read.
Paddy Mayne By Hamish Ross
One of many official biographies of Lt. Colonel Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne which updates earlier accounts and puts to bed some myths, untruths and downright impossibilities about one of the most charismatic and fearless leaders that the British Forces had ever known. The man, the legend, his leadership and care for his men as well as blow by blow accounts of all his action and operational activities are well covered and also the training, areas fought for and raids carried out as well as who he worked with and alongside. Overall a great read, well researched and referenced from lots of different sources, including Mayne’s family and friends.
Providence Their Guide By David Lloyd Owen
An official account by one of the most famous leaders of the LRDG. Everything from conception to the final days in the Desert are covered as well as further operations, retraining for temperate European action are also included. Historical timelines and eye witness accounts from the soldiers who made up the LRDG and all of the personalities involved in this famous unit give a good account and anecdotal reference to help the reader place the unit within the bigger picture of the Middle East Command, the 8th Army and other operations that the LRDG took part in. A great reference book to be used alongside many of the other books mentioned in the book list on this page.
The Conquest of North Africa
A great wee booklet documenting all of the actions during the war in the Western Desert. Some rare photographs and period maps give fascinating accounts of all the major formations, units, battles and actions taken by Axis and Friendly forces. This was brought out soon after the actual campaigns themselves and other copies include the battle of the Atlantic, Britain etc. A great read for two shillings.
Desert Raiders: Axis and Allied Special Forces 1940-43
By Andrea Molinari, Osprey Series, Battle Orders books
Comparative reference book looking at similarities, or differences, between the SF forces opposing each other; during the Western Desert Campaigns of WW2. Not only everything you want to know about unit strengths, formations and tactics but also how they went about business and where they worked, who they fought against and what happened to them etc. Again to be used alongside other books to help researchers and readers give depth of understanding to these elite units. Highly Recommended.
GPW Jeeps in Detail
Excellent book showing the difference between the Willys and Ford GPW jeeps. What to look for, where to find the famous ‘F’ marks and a host of other snippets to help restorers or prospective buyers ensure the jeep they are building or buying is not some Chinese or Phillipino copy. Good references and links as well as a whole load of photos and illustrations to help you along the way.
The All American Wonder Vols 1 and 2
By Ray Cowdery (Volume 3 not reviewed yet)
A fine pair of reference books all about jeeps and everything you might want to know about them. Including main components, markings, serial numbers, production dates etc. Too much to list here but an essential set of guides to help you understand your jeep and if the parts fitted are genuine or not!
WWII Jeep Guidebook By Ren Bernier
All about buying, owning and enjoying your WW2 Jeep. Similar to the other jeep books but with a lot of detailed knowledge from Ren, as well as some great hints and tips. Great first read if you are thinking about buying or owning a jeep and for reference purposes.
British Battledress 1937-61 Osprey men at arms series
Reference book all about Battledress used by British and Commonwealth Forces. Really gets into the types, manufacturers and differences. Aimed primarily at the collector and re-enactor showing early, late and other types etc to ensure you are not wearing a 50s one at your 1940s night as well as proper way to wear it.
British Eight Army Desert Rat
Reference guide by ISO Publications – giving a lot of information about the 8th Army –types, formations, units, tactics, dress, personalities, campaigns and battles etc. Great little book; allowing reader to increase knowledge and understanding of the Desert Rats.
Sting of the Scorpion By Mike Morgan
Another account about the LRDG. Lots of facts and references to the unit, vehicles, leaders and campaigns. Best used as a cross-reference alongside the other books about the LRDG and the many different biographies etc. Written in a similar style to his other book about the SAS, Daggers Drawn. Good little book and well worth a read.
LRDG Rhodesia By Johnathan Pittaway
Another excellent reference book about the LRDG; this time focussing on the Rhodesian Patrols. Interesting facts about the soldiers of S Patrol, again along similar themes; re the vehicles, equipment, operations and raids etc. This time also includes the insignia of many of the Allied and Axis forces encountered by them during their time in the desert etc. A lot of new information and photos not previously seen in other publications. V Good.
After The War Was Over (The Pearsons of Liverpool Story) By Alan Earnshaw & David Hayward – Limited Edition
This book is a historical account about a vehicle retailer and repairer in Liverpool. Pearsons, who did a lot of the assembling and refitting of vehicles coming from America and Canada – out of the crates to a running vehicle ready to be delivered to their respective units. The scale of operations was phenomenal and I cannot even attempt to describe the work that was carried out or the numbers of different vehicles that went through their workshops and delivery yards. Not only were they involved in this important war work but they also procured hundreds of vehicles at the end of their service lives and refitted them for civilian and civil defence work etc. Probably one of the most fascinating and factual publications I have read it is packed with rare photographs of almost every vehicle used by Allied forces during WW2. A few photos here do not do justice to the book itself, if you can get hold of one of the limited edition copies it is well worth a read.
The Wartime Jeep in British Service (1941-45) By Gavin Birch
Essential guide if you are thinking of doing your jeep up as a British vehicle. Packed with photos, explanations and notes about the differences between US and UK jeeps. Why were lamps placed where they were by British Workshops, what racks and weapons fitted where and a lot of other things you never knew about British Jeeps during the war.
Classic Military Vehicles Guide on Jeep
An in depth guide written about the Jeep, part of a larger series written about all types of Military Vehicles, a lot of the information has come from many sources including some of the other jeep books mentioned on this page. Again useful as a reference guide and to be used alongside other similar books and G503 manuals etc. Some good photos with modern take offs of wartime jeeps.
Desert Survival – RAF Guide
Essential booklet used by aircrew and passengers flying over desert areas. Covers all of the useful and practical skills required to survive in the desert.
Military Training Pamphlet No 13 (India)
NAVIGATION BY THE STARS –relevant to Middle East
Pamphlet used to introduce astral navigation overland in desert and open areas. Good starter to the night sky and how to plot a route and navigate by celestial navigation. Includes star charts and tables.