The bizarre side to the second world war is published in a book by an Eastrea author

Eastrea Village centre, Official opening. Picture: Steve Williams.

Eastrea Village centre, Official opening. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

AN EASTREA professor is releasing a book about the secrets and strange science of the second world war and its effect on modern society.

Brian J. Ford, a leading expert on the sometimes bizarre military science of the second world war, releases his book Secret Weapons: Death Rays, Doodlebugs and Churchill’s Golden Goose, next month.

The book takes a quirky trip through the innovations and failed experiments that helped win the war.

The sheer speed of wartime research allowed biplanes to be rapidly superseded by jet aircraft, devised rockets to take us to the edge of space, and developed the antibiotics that are now a part of everyday life, said Prof Ford.

“This fascinating tale of technological advancement is not without its dark side,” he added.


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“Many war criminals were pardoned and given illicit sanctuary in the US, where they continued their work on secret weapons as part of Operation Paperclip.

“One Japanese scientist involved in horrific experiments that killed hundreds of thousands went on to continue his research for the American military instead of being tried for war crimes – an act in total defiance of international law.

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“The bouncing bombs raids would now be classified as a war crime against the Geneva Convention – those brave pilots in the Dambusters, war criminals,” said Prof Ford.

The book also reveals that the decoding of the Enigma machine was actually done in Poland 10 years before the machine even arrived at Bletchley Park and that the attack on Pearl Harbour, far from being a shameless ambush, had been warned of and was detected by radar that very day, he said.

It features bizarre plots and abject failures such as death rays, exploding bats, invisible shells, ice airfields, the Panjandrum folly and a plot to turn Hitler into a woman, he said.

Prof Ford is a prolific research scientist whose books have appeared in over 100 editions around the world.

His work is widely reported and discussed in journals including Scientific American, Nature, New Scientist, and the British Medical Journal. Professor Ford contributes to The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Times, and lectures internationally as well as regularly appearing on the television and radio.

The book is published on September 20 and costs £9.99.

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