Spies in the Sky, Taylor Downing

After reading Target Tirpitz, Dam Busters, and other books on the history of World War II, (WW2), and realising how much was missing from my knowledge, my interest has been ignited to find other information, other gaps that need filling in.

One area mentioned was the intelligence which was gathered about targets prior to missions, and then post mission, the information which was made available as to the success or failure of the missions.
I came across Taylor Downing’s book, Spies in the Sky, which like many books being publish at this time, gathers together facts, figures, information, stories, history about what I was looking for, “the secret battle for aerial intelligence during World War II“.
This well written book tells in a near chronological sequence how and why the need for intelligence started in the 19th century, through the First World War, primarily the Second World War, even through to today, from the air.
It tells how Sidney Cotton, perhaps a maverick, an unconventional thinking person, used his knowledge and love of flying, to create methods of gathering aerial photographs of places of interest for military needs. It follows the story of how, despite opposition by some in power, the initial drive by Cotton was developed to a point where there were thousands of people gathering information, analysing and interpreting it to be made available just from aerial photographs, to the leaders, generals, admirals and air marshals, the planners, for battles that would follow.
The book tells the stories of pilots flying often alone for long hours, deep behind enemy lines, in unarmed reconnaissance aircraft, risked their lives, many never to return or unheard of again, just to photograph the land below them as they flew above, throughout the world.
Based in a country house, Danesfield House, Medmenham, in the Thames Valley near London, men and woman, civilians in uniform, academic people, gathered to process and analyse the millions of photographs taken by the reconnaissance pilots. Everyone, like those, the code breakers at Bletchley Park operated in total secret, unaware what others in other sections were doing, and their secrets were hidden from the public for many years.
This book tells the story of aerial intelligence during World War II, a good read.
But even more questions have been planted in my mind now.

A Big Thank You

I hope I have said thank you for wishing me a Happy Birthday, but is good just to say “Thank You” for no reason, just perhaps for being a friend, just perhaps just being there, just perhaps just knowing you.

Today I have to say thank you to my very good friend Jill Lawday, a fellow trainer whom I have known for many years.

She had been in town, my town of Kingston upon Thames, and we spent some time together, talking about old times, the future, having a meal, me being a tour guide, and it was Jill’s idea that we should have breakfast at Frank B’s Diner in the Bentall Center of Kingston as a birthday treat.

Jill Lawday and Phillip Holt

Jill Lawday and Phillip Holt
Birthday Breakfast in Frank B’s Diner

Thank you Jill, it was great, even though I needed a nap when I got home.

Oh Jill, watch the video I took off Kingston upon Thames, by clicking here Relax with views from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.


see It is a small world

Books Thoughts

I am still learning more on history

In the past I have had to admit that there is much missing from my knowledge, my history.

I realised how much is missing from my family history, when after getting together recently with my daughter Vanessa in Southampton, and I was relating what knowledge I had to her, how little I really did know. I had heard stories from my father and mother, uncles and aunties, but this information was limited and nothing had been written down, and now knowing what I do know now about human memory systems, there was much missing.

Visiting so many countries, and listening to their understanding of their history, I realise that it differs from my understanding of the same history from a British point of view. My experience of talking to Gianni Golfera’s Grandfather as a WWII Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero (SM.79) bomber pilot and his recollections of fighting the British Hurricane fighter planes, gave a different point of view to my reading of British history of that time.

Having an inquiring mind, trying to understand the background of information, and often asking “why“, I sometimes need and search for information, for example, looking at the history of the WWII British fight plane, the Hurricane and its’ connect to Kingston upon Thames where I have a home.

Part of my research has been through reading, thank goodness I know PhotoReading, part of my research through talking to people, and part of research has been through visiting museums and actual sites the history took place.

My recent interest has taken me to Bletchley Park, north of London, home of and historic site of secret British codebreaking activities during WWII and birthplace of the modern computer, Colosus. This led me to reading many books on the history of Bletchley Park, and to a book by R.V. Jones called Most Secret War. Reading this book led me to wanting to find more about the history of the Cabinet War Rooms, Britain’s secret underground shelter for the War Cabinet and Chiefs of Staff, in Central London.

A tour guide at Bletchley Park when informing us of the work initially undertaken by Polish scientists on the secret encoding of the messages by the Germans and the Enigma Machines, was that once a year a special visit was taken by Polish nationals to the park, and that their guides tell a different story than he does.

Now I have found so much more insight into my own and others history, that I have had to completely rewrite some my understanding of my knowledge, also reaffirming my realisation that we are only told by higher authorities and others what they want us to know.

I also realise that I should have asked my relatives who are now no longer with us more about their history and thus Vanessa’s and mine.

NLP Thoughts

Push Me Pull Me

I recently went for a walk in the wonderful Richmond Park, which is only a small walk from my home in the UK, Norbiton Hall in Kingston upon Thames.

There are some beautiful sights, sounds and smells as you walk in the countryside so near to the heart of London, and it seems strange that in the distance you can see the City of London, the towering office blocks with people crammed into a small area, yet you are with wild animals, fantastic gardens like the Isabella Plantation, and strange sights.

Here is the Push Me, Pull Me animal. It is an animal that sometimes reflects life.

push me pull me Phillip Holt
The Push Me Pull Me Animal 

I have often had clients who have had a relationship problem, and recently it was a couple who from appearances loved each other a lot, but they could not become one, a couple.

They were both giving the right signals to each other, they helped each other through difficulties, but that is where it stayed.

When I listened to their individual stories, I could begin to understand.

The lady was making signals that said to the man, I am available, come and get me, I want you, contact me, help me, and the man responded. She was pulling him towards her.

When the man responded, there was the feedback, I am not available, I am out tonight, etc, from her. She was pushing him away.

Just like the Push Me Pull Me animal, she did not know which direction to go.

Now I could not tell either of them which direction to go. It would be incorrect for me to do so as a Coach. It is a coach’s duty to get the party or parties to come to their own answers, yes to be a guide, but for them to resolve the issues.

I had a friend John, who was married, and unfortunately there was a medical problem with the wife, which meant she lost her womanhood. The psychological problems that caused her, meant that she had to lay blame for her loss, and in her mind it was the husband, who had no responsibility for what happened.

The wife hated the husband for what had happened to her, and yet she could not let him go, there was a love hate relationship with her. He stood by her until he became ill, he did not know what to do, should he continue in the marriage or divorce for the sake of both their sanities.

She did not know if she loved or hated the husband, he did not know whether to end the relationship or continue. Push Me, Pull Me.

Sometimes it is good just to talk the issues through with a coach or councilor, or to talk honestly with each other, to tell ones feelings thoughts, not to be a Push Me Pull Me, leaving the other partner not knowing what direction the other wants to go.

In NLP there are techniques to coach people through the Push Me Pull Me situation. Perhaps the best one Perceptual Positions. Seeing the situation from others point of view.

If the Push Me Pull Me is not resolved there will be conflict, and that leads to misunderstanding, mistrust and unhappiness.

Firstly, try talking.