Top historian, author and friend of the Memorial Dilip Sarkar MBE, FRHistS is well on the way to writing one million words as he completes the ultimate guide to the Battle of Britain, the 1940s aerial conflict which changed the course of World War Two.
Dilip's eight volume history of the Battle is being published in association with the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, and looks set to challenge some of accepted ideas about the conflict.
His diligent research into the battle that changed history has already led him to question one of the fundamental ‘facts’ behind it; the dates themselves. “There is a clear case to suggest that the Battle of Britain started on 2 July not 10 July,” he pointed out, “and if it’s supposed to have been a battle for aerial superiority prior to an invasion, the end date should really be 12 October, when Hitler postponed his invasion plans indefinitely, not 31 October.”
Dilip went on: “Writing this work has been an incredible experience. A real marathon that has needed a different mindset to just writing a standalone book. I’ve discovered that you can’t rely on anything and have to cross check every last fact, date and reference.”
That has meant checking out every single combat report from every squadron, but as Dilip pointed out: “I don’t just cover the air warfare; the books also cover politics, diplomacy, the home front and the contributions made by Bomber and Coastal Commands and by the Royal Navy.”
Dilip, whose Battle of Britain output already runs in to scores of books, has even found errors in some of the documentation, with squadron records disagreeing on timings and, in one case, getting the date of a combat wrong by a whole month.
“It’s been a learning curve for me, as well as a chance to bring all my previous knowledge and interviews together,” he added. “The eight volumes will include a number of new interpretations of the Battle of Britain and its impact on world history.”
Not content with producing the ultimate guide to the battle that prevented a Nazi invasion of this country, Dilip is now considering a ninth volume which will conclude the story, explaining the immediate aftermath of the battle through to the end of February 1941.
With the first six volumes now finished, the prolific author has already written 714,216 words, putting his predicted one million well within reach. He hopes to finish the last of the eight volumes in June, by when he will have taken just two years to write the work he considers will sum up a lifetime’s research.
The first two volumes – The Gathering Storm: Prelude to the Spitfire summer of 1940 and The Breaking Storm: 10 July 1940 – 12 August 1940 – have already been released by publishers Pen and Sword, with the others scheduled to follow at regular intervals. Both books are available from our online shop
Dilip has also set up a YouTube channel where he will be sharing podcasts and videos around the project. It’s at https://youtube.com/@battleofbritain_DilipSarkar?si=kPUuW-Pf80QyzdCs