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British Forces in Germany
The Lived Experience
by Peter Johnston

At the same time as the international media was focusing on memories of the Fall of the Berlin Wall a more low key development saw its final act being played out in Germany as the last major British unit, a tank regiment, was withdrawn to the United Kingdom, bringing an end to the 74-year presence of British Forces in Germany (BFG) after the end of the Second World War.

Dr Peter Johnston has sought to bring together in this single large format volume countless aspects of the ceaselessly evolving realities of life in Germany for British forces’ personnel and their dependants.  He has identified nine phases in this fascinating saga as BFG transformed from occupiers to trusted friends and partners in NATO.  British forces were in Germany for 13 years after the Great War which was no mean length of time; I often wonder how Field Marshal Montgomery would have reacted if he could have been told that their post-Second World War presence would last over five times as long.

This book is the latest in a long line of definitive, illustrated books produced under the aegis of the National Army Museum (where the author is the head of its academic department).  It is therefore no surprise to find that ‘BFG: The Lived Experience’ is the perfect one-stop destination for anyone with an interest in what it was that the British Army of the Rhine and Royal Air Force Germany were involved in not just at an operational level, but also at the human level. 

Those who never served in Germany are sure to be amazed by this story of extraordinarily successful co-existence in a foreign country.  Anyone who was lucky enough to spend time as a soldier or a dependant in Germany will find much in this book to feed their sense of nostalgia, but they will also learn a great deal about how their fellows experienced BFG in the other phases of its existence.

Peter Williams



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