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By Simon Jenkins

Which conflict used to be fought 'For England, Harry and St George'? Who demanded to be painted 'warts and all'? What - and whilst - was once the conflict of the Bulge?

In A brief heritage of England, bestselling writer Simon Jenkins solutions a majority of these questions - and plenty of extra - as he tells the tumultuous tale of a desirable state. From the invaders of the darkish a long time to today's coalition, through the Tudors, the Stuarts and international wars, Jenkins weaves jointly a gripping narrative with all of the most vital and engaging dates in his personal inimitable variety.

Until now there was no brief historical past of britain protecting all major occasions, subject matters and participants: this bestselling ebook, released in organization with the nationwide belief, stands out as the normal paintings for future years.

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Last but not least, with a fellow NCO, I've thought up another type of shooting sport, quite exciting though again not without its perils. In conditions of fog, we go out collecting up unexploded shells, little ones and big ones, some weighing a hundredweight or more, all usually in plentiful supply. We set these up at some distance away, and then, hidden behind shooting-slits, we bang away at them. We don't need anyone to examine the targets to tell us how we've done, because a hit - a shot on the fuse -announces itself right away with a hideous blast, which is greatly increased if it's a case of 'all nine'; in other words, if the explosion carries through a whole row of these unexploded duds.

But one shouldn't have too romantic an idea of the atmosphere; there is a certain prevailing torpor that proximity to the earth seems to engender. I was sent to the 6th Company, and, a few days after my arrival, moved into line at the head of a platoon, where I was straightaway welcomed by a few English 'toffee-apples'. These are brittle iron shells, filled with high explosive, somewhat resembling fruit on a stalk; or imagine a fifty-kilogram dumbbell, with one of the weights missing. They went off with a muffled thud, and, moreover, were often masked by machine-gun fire.

In conditions of fog, we go out collecting up unexploded shells, little ones and big ones, some weighing a hundredweight or more, all usually in plentiful supply. We set these up at some distance away, and then, hidden behind shooting-slits, we bang away at them. We don't need anyone to examine the targets to tell us how we've done, because a hit - a shot on the fuse -announces itself right away with a hideous blast, which is greatly increased if it's a case of 'all nine'; in other words, if the explosion carries through a whole row of these unexploded duds.

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