On Twitter? Why not follow me?

Tony Twit

Hi everybody.

Do you live in the world of tweets,retweets and hashtags? If so why not look me up on Twitter. Yes today I surrendered to the inevitable and set up a Twitter account. I plan to use this primarily for Defence of the Realm so expect a lot of military themed tweets and what-not. Basically, this is where I am going to be putting forward my musings for future posts or just things in general.

Hope to see some of you on there. You can find me by clicking here.

Also don’t forget the Facebook page is still alive and well. You can find that here.

Hope you are all well.

– Tony


Some Shameless Self Promotion…

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Hi everyone,

I just thought I’d take a moment to invite you to join my newest site about my passion for flying RC helicopters.

“Home Drones” will cover my experiences and lessons as I indulge in one of my favourite pastimes.

If you think you would be interested or just fancy take a look then click here.

Otherwise thanks for just following Defence of the Realm.

Take care.

– Tony

The Capture of Fiat CR.42 “MM5701/95-13”

The legend of the Battle of Britain tells the story of a handful of RAF pilots battling swarms of German aircraft and fighters. A little known part of the story however is that Mussolini’s air force also contributed aircraft to the campaign albeit briefly and with limited success.

On the 11th November 1940, Fiat CR.42 “MM5701/95-13” flown by Sergente Pietro Salvadori of 95a Squadriglia force-landed near the Orfordness lighthouse after he developed engine troubles. He was subsequently captured by the local Home Guard and interrogated by British intelligence. The interrogation revealed some startling facts about the Italian pilots operating in the Battle of Britain from bases in Belgium. There seemed to be very little will to fight amongst their ranks with Salvadori apparently pleased he had been taken prisoner. He also revealed that there was a strong dissatisfaction among the lower officer ranks with the Italian officer-elite and a strong dislike for the Germans.

This aircraft was made serviceable by the RAF and flown on evaluation trails as BT474 and is now on exhibition in the Battle of Britain Museum, Hendon.

SITREP – Defence of the Realm

Lancaster_wireless_operator_WWII_IWM_CH_8790Hi everybody.

Just thought I would take a moment to bring you all up to speed on what December will bring for the site. Firstly I would like to thank all of you for following “Defence of the Realm”, the support I have received has been touching and inspiring to say the least. The site is now getting a healthy run of regular traffic and feedback.

There are a few of you who I would especially like to thank for their continued support through comments, reblogging and LIKES. I wont name them on here as I am worried I will miss a few of you out but you know who you are. If you are new to the site then welcome and I hope you find the articles interesting and informative.

So what’s on the horizon?

  1. I am definitely planning to do more aircraft comparisons in the future and have recently posted on the Facebook page an offer to submit requests. If you have a specific request then please feel free to comment below or on the Facebook page what you would like to see. The only condition is that the two aircraft have to be contemporary to one another in both role and time period. Ideally I would like at least one aircraft to be British but I am willing to accept requests for entirely non-British aircraft. I am currently working on a comparison of the Gloster Gladiator and the Fiat CR.42 in a project I am calling the “Battle of the Biplanes”.
  2. I am expanding the navigation tools of the site by adding more menus down the side of the page to cover some of the sub-categories or for topics that cross main categories e,g Forgotten Aircraft of the RAF and Royal Navy.
  3. Building on the “Aircraft Comparisons” I will be doing the same for tanks, ships and submarines. My long term aim is to build an encyclopaedia of information comparing many different types and evaluating the outcome. Again if you have any requests please feel free to comment below.

Thank you again for your support even if it is just taking the time to read an article on the site.

All the best.

– Tony Wilkins

Defence of the Realm Halloween Special Article Request


Hello everyone.

Now I am an absolute sucker for a good ghost story and with Halloween fast approaching I thought I would combine my passion for writing about British military history and technology with my love of a good spooky tale.


What I would like is for people to share either their own stories/experiences or ones they have heard that have a military theme. I will give you an example by sharing my own story;

When I was 17 years old I was with the RAF’s Air Training Corps and was undertaking a gliding scholarship at Swansea airport with 636 Volunteer Gliding School. One day in the middle of the week long course we broke for lunch and sat around munching on standard issue soggy sandwiches and drinking 5p cartons of orange juice.

During the course of the conversation one of my bunkmates said that he heard knocking on the side of the portakabin we were staying in the night before. I had heard something similar the night before that but hadn’t thought anything of it. As we sat around talking about it one of the instructors came over and joked that, “Sounds like the ghost came to see you.”

Now…I know its customary for instructors to tease cadets. Heaven knows that I was both a victim of such teasing at first and then later an accomplice as I became a more permanent fixture at the Gliding School. This time however it was clear he was not teasing and he went on to explain about the ghost that supposedly haunts the airport.

The story went that during the Second World War a Polish pilot flying for the RAF was on a training flight and got lost eventually colliding in to a nearby mountain in poor visibility. Since then the spectre of a pilot in World War II flight gear has been seen wandering the flightline at Swansea airport. In some instances it has just been a case of someone catching a glance of him birefly while in other instances he has been seen apparently looking for something (the legend goes that he is trying to find his squadron to report he is back).

How true this story is I cant be certain but I asked around after being told it initially and the same story was repeated to me so it is well known.

That’s just my story. If you have a story please comment below and on 31st October I shall post all the stories in a combined article. I will of course give full credit to whoever posts the comment. If you have more than one encounter/story please feel free to post them all. If anyone would like to reblog this request I would also be very greatful.

Thank you

– Tony