By Bill Bellamy
Troop Leader is a unique account of one man's experience of the battle for Europe in 1944 and 1945.
Bill Bellamy was a young officer in the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars from 1943 to 1955. He served in 7th Armoured Division in the North West Europe campaign, landing in Normandy on D+3, fought throughout the Battle for Normandy and into the Low Countries as a troop leader in Cromwell tanks, and was latterly a member of the initial occupying force in Berlin in May 1945.
Against the rules, Bill kept diaries and notes of his experiences. His account is fresh and open, and his descriptions of battle are vivid. He witnessed many of his contemporaries killed in action, and this life-altering experience clearly informs his narrative. The accounts of tank fighting in the leafy Normandy bocage in the height of summer, or in the iron hard fields of Holland in winter, are graphic and compelling.
Having been a recce troop member and, occasionally, a tank crewman, albeit in peacetime, the closeness of the relationships and camaraderie of the crew comes to the fore in the book. Very well written bringing out the atmosphere experienced within a fighting vehicle.
The bravery of these young men is unbelievable. They treated war and all the horrors it brings as one big adventure. I for one would've been terrified. Highly recommended, we don't know how lucky we are