Story behind the stories: British and Dominion war correspondents
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British and Dominion armed forces operations during the Second World War were followed closely by a journalistic army of correspondents employed by various media outlets including news agencies, newspapers and, for the first time on a large scale in a war, radio broadcasters. These war reporters on foreign soil, under the direction of their editors and managers on the home front, provided an informational link between the fighting military personnel and the public – in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the British Dominion nations – eagerly awaiting news of their progress. The purpose is to look beyond the news stories that came out of the reporting and analyse the correspondents themselves: how they acquired their positions and prepared for deployments, what sort of monetary support they received, how they operated under difficult field conditions, what they wore and carried, what specific tools made their work possible, how they moved among the battles, what they did when they rested, and how their labours made some of them household names. This study aims to pull together these various aspects of the work and lives of the journalists, illuminating the methods and motivations that made them war correspondents; in short, the story behind their stories. The focus is solely on British and Dominion correspondents in the European and North African theatres of the Second World War in order to keep the parameters within reasonable limits. It also provides the opportunity to concentrate on a specific group of correspondents, which is still large but not so much as attempting the outsized and therefore less distinct job of looking at all Allied correspondents. Primary sources include the archives of news organisations and the United Kingdom National Archives, as well as the invaluable memoirs of correspondents who related their personal experiences and details of their work. Other sources include relevant secondary material such as historical manuscripts about the overall war or specific battles, news articles, and sound recordings.