What was it like to serve as an artillery officer during the Second World War? How did he view the battlefield and experience combat? And how did his work with the guns combine with that of the other arms - the infantry, the tanks? Peter Pettit's diary, covering his entire wartime career in the Royal Artillery, edited and with an extensive introduction by John Philip Jones, offers a rare insight into the day-to-day existence of a gunner at war, and it is a valuable record of the role played by the Royal Artillery during the conflict. Since Peter Pettit served as a field officer in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy and during the Allied advance across France and Belgium into Germany, his account shows the wide range of challenges that confronted the artillery in different conditions at each stage of the war. Although the landscapes and battlefields changed, the practical problems and acute dangers he faced remained much the same, and he recorded them in the same open and forthright way.
His authentic record, combined with John Philip Jones's meticulous description of the planning and progress of each campaign, provide a rounded view the nature of the artillery war and the men who fought it. Author details John Philip Jones is an American academic, born and educated in Britain. After a successful career in advertising and market research with the international advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, in Britain, Holland and Scandinavia, he was invited to join the faculty of Syracuse University, New York. He spent twenty-seven years teaching, researching and writing, and published seventeen books which were translated into ten different languages. He was a full professor with academic tenure; now Emeritus. He has been a member of the HAC for fifty-eight years and has had a life-long interest in military history. Since retiring, he has published two books on the subject. Peter Pettit (1908-2003) was a London solicitor, senior partner in a prominent family firm. He was educated at University College School; then spent five years serving articles to prepare him for the Law Society examination to qualify as a solicitor.
His father had been a member of B Battery, HAC, and he himself joined the battery in 1927. He was commissioned in 1932 and before the outbreak of war was commanding B Battery. After three years training in Britain, he served overseas with four different field artillery units, and in 1945 became CO of 55th Field Regiment (West Somerset Yeomanry). After the war he was for many years a member of the Court of Assistants of the HAC; and gave long unpaid service to local government, in turn as a Councillor, Alderman and Mayor of the ancient London borough of St Marylebone.