The Battle for England

Written by Mr Bernard Neeson
Review by Edward James

I remember when I was a schoolboy reading a passage from Churchill’s war memoirs in which he half-regretted that Hitler had never launched Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of England. All those defences never tested, the British victory that never happened! During the war many people believed that the invasion had been attempted and that German bodies had been seen washed up on the beaches.

Bernard Neeson read the same passage in the memoirs, and it inspired him to write this alternative history of 1940. In Neeson’s version, Churchill deceives Hitler into underestimating British strength and tempts him to invade. The strategy almost backfires as Rommel makes a surprise breakthrough, but of course the British find a way to save the day.

This is a straightforward alternative history with all the military and political manoeuvres and no romantic sub-plots or other devices. Operation Sea Lion has been the subject of numerous alternative histories, and this is the best I have read.