Armoured Guardsmen: A War Diary, June 1944-April 1945

By Robert Boscawen

Robert Boscawen kept a diary, recording his wartime experiences from Normandy through to Germany where, suffering severe burns, he was the sole survivor of his tank crew. During this period, the Guards Armoured Division was in almost constant action, and this account describes a number of the fiercest encounters, such as Sourdeval and Cagny.

Boscawen wrote this diary in defiance of the regulations, and when he wasn’t writing he was in the thick of it: fighting alongside his comrades, with many notable successes and costly failures. The tone of the diary is as intriguing as the stories in it – the narrative alternates between light-hearted moments and the more serious business of war. As the fighting continues, the tone of the sections dealing with the fighting becomes sombre, almost macabre, after Boscawen’s original tank company was disbanded. He had four tanks shot from underneath him and this book captures the spirit of comradeship, the joy of success, the bitterness of loss and the dangerous thrill of action. It’s a stirring record of frontline action during the final year of War.

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