Welcome to the Cambridge Military History blog, where we will discover and explore together the rich history of an ancient and beautiful part of England – Cambridgeshire. From the earliest settlements, through the arrival of the Romans and, as the legions departed, to the coming of the Anglo-Saxons, we will delve together into the past. From the early political stirrings of a land which would become England, this area has played a key part in this Nation’s history. With the Viking raids and the Norman conquest, to the heady times of kingship, the rise of parliamentary power and the Civil War, Cambridgeshire has been at the fore. As we moved into modernity, once more Cambridgeshire loomed over the fortunes of this land as fighters and bombers soared over the flat countryside, defending England, launching contentious and destructive raids on the continent in the Second World War that are still debated to this day. The study of Cambridgeshire is often an exploration into the wars and battles which have been fought on, and above, this land. What is waiting to be discovered, researched and brought back to life for you the reader to share with me? A lifetime could be spent exploring the thousands of years of human struggle: man fighting against nature, famine, and disease, through religious and world wars, against political and military adversaries. Where will this adventure take us? I am not certain, but surely the journey will be as powerful as the conclusions.
I’m an American, an expat, who has settled here in England after years lived abroad and at sea after a career as a Naval Officer. Although I have been in Cambridgeshire for many years, my perspective and background may just vary enough to allow a different view on this fascinating part of England. As the Bard let John of Gaunt eloquently say:
This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
– Shakespeare, Richard II, Act II