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Written by Stephen Webbe (S. 1957-62)
Saturday, 03 June 2006

I’m putting the finishing touches to a book on Mussolini's long-forgotten air assault on eastern and south-eastern England in 1940-41. It's called 'Wrath of the Duce'.

Fiat bombers took off from Belgian airfields to attack Ramsgate, Harwich, Ipswich, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. The big clash came on November 11th 1940 when Italian bombers and fighters ran into a couple of Hurricane squadrons off Orford Ness.

At the moment I'm trying to find a photo of Mussolini piloting a bomber. Can anybody help with that??

I can't say my CCF career at the College prepared me for a book like this. (I wasn't even in the RAF Section!) The cap badge of The Royal Sussex Regiment glittered proudly in my beret.

But all those parades, field days and summer camps helped give me an abiding interest in things military - as did the many battles that featured in the history taught with such gusto by Norman Frith and Headmaster Bill Stewart.

All that stood me in good stead when I became Pentagon Correspondent for the American newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, back in the 1980s.

My next book isn't half so military, though it has its martial moments. It's a history of Claremont Palace in Esher, Surrey, built by Clive of India and beloved of Queen Victoria.

Now, what I badly need for that is a photograph of VR in her carriage at the foot of the front steps!

Any offers??!

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