“Fighting Proud: The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served in Two World Wars” by Stephen Bourne— Gay Men of War

Bourne, Stephen. “Fighting Proud: The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served in Two World Wars”, I.B. Tauris, 2017.

Gay Men of War

Amos Lassen

Stephen Bourne, in his new history of Britain at war, brings us the fascinating stories of the gay men who served in the armed forces and at home. He shares their unheralded contribution that they made to the war effort. Royal Air Force hero Ian Gleed was twice honored for bravery by King George VI. There were – gay infantry officers serving in the trenches on the Western Front in World War I and there were those gay soldiers that led the charges into machine-gun fire only to find themselves court-martialed for indecent behavior after the war. Bourne acknowledges Alan Turing’s work on breaking the “enigma machine”. We get stories here of persecution as well as stories of love and courage in London during the blitz. Bourne’s sources include wartime diaries and letters that have been brought to light for the first time. “Fighting Proud” also includes long-suppressed wartime photography that was ignored by mainstream historians.

This book is a tribute to the bravery, sacrifice and honor from a persecuted minority who contributed so much during Britain’s hour of need.

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