|British Sky Tours||
WHAT OUR VISITORS SAY...
‘This was my third and most meaningful trip to Normandy. Seeing it by air really put things in perspective for me BEFORE THE GROUND TOUR. You are a great guide and delightful people to spend the day with.’ ......
Visitor from San Antonio, Texas.
*** WORLD NEWS ***
Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach and the Mulberry Harbour are only 2 hours from London with our Normandy D Day Air/Land Tour
Photos above link to schedules and virtual D Day tour
' READING THE NEWS '
' Events, dear boy, events.'
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan when asked by a journalist to name the greatest obstacle in the path of statesmanship.
When Adrian Hill served as a diplomat one of his most rewarding jobs was Director of British Information Services across Canada. At one stage he gave Britain's messages across the United States as well. Apart from network and local television and radio broadcasts a key part of his job was to brief and often write editorials for the hundreds of newspapers across North America, concentrating on foreign news. Most newspapers in North America view the World from a continent which could get along comfortably without anyone else - and the US/Canadian border is a surprising obstacle. Henry Ginsberg of the New York Times once challenged Adrian to find any Canadian news in his own paper. At that time Henry was their correspondent in Ottawa - he returned to New York City as the Foreign Editor and for a while Canadian news prospered!
Adrian's editorial contributions with a British slant proved highly popular right across North America so alongside these touring and history pages we opened a whole new section on the website for editorial pages. Here we try to bring some historical perspective to the latest political and military events around the World. Journalists never truly understand the news they report because they are forever running on the outside track - they have no experience of nor access to the burdens from responsibility and decisions, they are poor at lateral thinking otherwise they'd have a proper job. The recent avalanche via Wikileaks provides a text book lesson how journalists see no further than their own noses even when given the Department of State's secret telegrams with America's senior diplomats.
The ideas expressed on these ' editorial ' pages are based on such experience and conversations with sailors, soldiers, airmen of all ranks including their most senior leaders, indeed many others with direct involvement and experience of today's trouble spots. Early years as a paratrooper still come in handy today. Adrian knows Afghanistan, Pakistan and India from his very first overseas posting as a young diplomat serving at the British Deputy High Commission in Lahore and subsequent return visits. His career took him to Cyprus and the Near East, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, South Korea and Jamaica and most places along the flight path.
Apart from witnessing huge armoured and airmobile battles from the Near East to the Far East, Adrian studied campaigns and battlefields on four continents, has written three books and articles for the Royal United Services Institute Journal.
Although this website is about our tours we also try to promote the heritage of the Atlantic Charter and the Special Relationship. The United Nations and NATO owe their existence to the Atlantic Charter, unique among treaties in that there were no signatures, just messages to their respective cabinets from Churchill and Roosevelt on board a battleship and a cruiser anchored off Newfoundland - above all mutual trust at a time of great danger for the democracies.
The President has the patience of a Saint.
THE TORIES DUG MOST OF THE DEFENCE BLACK HOLE, NOT LABOUR
The only person I ever voted for was Maggie Thatcher - because I felt the time long overdue for a woman to have a go - and my vote wasn't squandered. Nowadays I regard myself as politically neutral.
More than 4,000 British sailors, soldiers and airmen have been made redundant. Most were from the Army which is losing 20% of its strength with more redundancies to come. No plan has been released for what the Army will do and thus look like in 2020 - the official reason for the cuts.
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond, book-keeper Nott cloned, keeps telling us that he has solved the £ 38 billion black hole left in the Defence Budget by the Labour Party.
Phillip Hammond is peddling rubbish, presenting spin as fact. Gordon Brown's record on the defence budget is grudging and opportunist. Hammond's pal, David Cameron, is the person who cut the defence budget by £ 5 billion pounds a year. Over a five year Parliament ( they've voted to keep themselves in five years although I'll be surprised if their marriage with the Liberals lasts another two ) that sounds to me near enough £ 35 billions. So what did Gordon Brown slash - £ 3 billions?
Only one Tory grandee urged re-armament during living memory - Winston Churchill, who was cast into the political wilderness for his troubles.
Three Labour Prime Ministers have re-armed during peacetime - Ramsay MacDonald, Clement Atlee and Jim Callaghan. In 1931 Ramsay MacDonald opposed the ten year rule - because the international situation made it blindingly obvious that to claim no war likely within ten years - was absurd.
My advice to the British voters is stay home at the next election, don't vote. Leave this entire House of Commons without a mandate and no jobs. Demand another election with candidates worth your vote.
I'm not optimistic.
I'm all for the idea of a small, core Army backed by a much bigger reserve. Read any page on this website that covers defence and foreign policy. I've been urging this structure for over forty years. These latest Tory cuts, like all the others during the last 90 years, are to save money.
There is no plan to show how regulars and reserves will interlock and support each other, no accompanying legislation to make it worthwhile - or compulsory - for employers to support volunteer reservists, no organised programme to move combat experienced young veterans straight into the volunteer reserves. Surely the Army has 4,000 highly seasoned officers and men available as an instant transfusion. Or are Mr Hammond and his Ministers going to waste this unique chance because they're too busy counting their dwindling pile of beans?
This isn't strategy. Defence is simply the quick economy. Servicemen do as they are told and can't answer back. Ritual snipes at the Royal Navy and RAF from Lord Dannatt, former Army Chief of Staff, are no substitute for a united and intelligent front manned by all three Service Chiefs. You won't scare the politicians, chaps, until you've frightened the voters out of their wits. Read your history - swot up the 1930s. We're back there.
Today's generals mutter how raising 30,000 volunteer reserve soldiers by 2020 is too ambitious. Good job their grandfathers thought otherwise in 1938. By 1945 this country had trained 5 millions and raised 30,000 paratroops - an entirely new means of waging war.
Pilots from the Royal Auxiliary Air Force provided the backbone of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain.
Hundreds of destroyers, frigates and corvettes manned by the wavy navy - RNVR - won the Battle of the Atlantic. Let me add a little perspective - just the losses - we lost 3,500 merchant ships and 175 warships while the Germans lost 783 U boats during six bitter years and that doesn't include the Arctic Convoys.
Still wondering why I don't vote for schoolchildren?
CLICK THE PHOTOS FOR WORLD NEWS PAGES
WORLD NEWS FRONT PAGE
INTELLIGENCE AND DIPLOMACY FUTURE STRATEGY?
NAVAL AIR POWER OCEAN GREYHOUNDS
REFORM OF THE BRITISH ARMY ROUND THE DIPLOMAT'S BAR
' Double the effort and square the error.'
Sir Robert Thompson describing the worst form of strategy - debating with Adrian over a Chinese meal in wartime Saigon.
Sheridan tank delivered by LAPES onto Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg - photo Adrian Hill - with the C 130 already climbing away.
For some time we have felt the website lacked detail on two topics - airborne forces, and the role of the French Resistance during the Battle of Normandy including the politics among the main resistance groups. We're still working on the latter but hope our readers find three new pages with many photos give an introduction to the story of airborne forces.
There is a vast amount of information on the Internet and several good sites are linked to this one. Many excellent books have been written about airborne forces, the best as ever by those who took part in airborne and airmobile combat. The material on our site provides detail on the early airborne operations which are less familiar to our regular readership before offering a few thoughts on future operations - perhaps of more than usual interest given the latest news. Readers will find that we have split this history into three pages with a slant towards current news on the third page. We've also tried to bring alive what it's like to take part in a mass parachute landing.
USS Winston Churchill making an emergency break away from the USS Harry S Truman. She is the only ship in the US Navy permanently assigned a Royal Navy officer - she flies the Stars and Stripes and the White Ensign. Astern of the carrier and her support ship is HMS Manchester.
The Special Relationship - nowhere does this work closer than our two navies - save airborne forces!
CLICK THE PHOTO FOR PRE-TAKE OFF BRIEFING ON D DAY NORMANDY LANDINGS
Updates keep pace with the news.
RED CARPET TREATMENT FOR YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
While our air/land tours are not unique - we've seen such claims - we've been operating for ten years and like to think our team are second to none.
Once you set foot on these islands, British Sky Tours take care of your family and friends with the same kind of comfort, safety and convenience that years ago everyone took for granted. Nowadays such pleasant touring is possible only through private travel.
We specialise in private air travel and tours designed for families, friends, staff, clients and academic institutions. We show you those places off the usual tourist trails, places we know from living in the countries over many years. You can book our services as a part of your holiday or just for a short trip. We can fly you wherever you wish in Europe, meet you in Normandy or Switzerland, whatever suits your plans.
The more our visitors know before a tour, the more they get out of the tour. Those taking a tour - and indeed students - will find a great deal of background about the planning and execution of D Day on several briefing pages. We regularly add material. You can find this briefing via our Home and Contact pages.
FINDING YOUR WAY AROUND OUR WEBSITE
TOURS, OVERNIGHTS, TOURING
Just click the photos for links to pages
Bill Pritchard and Dave Frost are former British Airways jumbo jet training captains,
both own pilot's log books showing five years in the sky at the controls of big airliners.
You can make enquiries and book all our tours - air, Chunnel/ferry and road - through ourselves in Sedlescombe, East Sussex, UK and through our agent, Barry Hyatt CTC of Air & Marine Travel in Brewster, New York, USA.
Our USA agent is Barry Hyatt, whose company was established on Manhattan Island in 1932. Barry has many years experience in the travel business and we regard his representation of our tours as a great compliment.
Why not treat your family, your colleagues, your clients, indeed yourself.
FLY BESIDE THE SWISS ALPS
STROLL AROUND BERN, SWITZERLAND'S FAIRY TALE CAPITAL
LATEST ON DEFENCE
BRITISH AND THEIR ARMED FORCES