Welcome to my personal corner of the Web. If you're interested in WW2 Allied armoured history then I hope you will find something of interest here.

I am not an academically trained historian, and I don't think I can call myself a historian as such. On the other hand, I am deeply committed to doing original research and to letting period documents speak for themselves. What does that make me? At least a writer.

In books, the opinions of the men who used armoured vehicles in the Second World War is often summed up quite briefly. If I can speculate for a moment, that may be because British historians were not making use of the reports of a branch of the Ministry of Supply called AFV(T), but instead relying on veterans' memories. AFV(T) was responsible for collecting technical reports and the opinions of the units using vehicles, and reporting back to the UK. (There was a Canadian section of AFV(T) in First Canadian Army, too!)

Many of these AFV(T) reports no long exist in the National Archives of the UK. They do, however, still exist at Library and Archives Canada - some in now-digitized microfilm, and others on paper. Canada received copies of many British reports and LAC is a useful repository of information on both Canadian and British subjects. This is just one example that shows the importance of collaboration between our two countries in order to more fully research the past. With the Internet at our disposal, we no longer need to fly overseas in order to conduct research.

We need new, accessible, and more thoroughly researched histories of British and Canadian armoured vehicles. I think the Americans have done very well for themselves - take for instance the new two-volume edition of Son of Sherman! On the other hand, I am not sure that their tank destroyers have received the same treatment.

I know that I am a bit of an idealist, but I feel that it is important to share these documents freely in order to advance our understanding of the conflict. Being possessive of documents we have copied will only lead to others having to do the copying work again. Isn't that a waste of time? Look at what Project '44 has accomplished. In the process of creating that website, volunteers scanned a huge number of war diaries which are now available for download on the LAC website. Now, if you want to know what the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry were doing on a particular day, you can just download the war diary for that month and dig in, without leaving your chair! Imagine if that were true for the myriad regiments of the British Army as well.

While I don't have the time or resources to launch any kind of initiative on this front, if there is something you are interested in which I have touched on in my research or writing, I would be happy to try to help.

© 2024 Christopher Camfield