Defending Bedfordshire: The Military Landscape from Pre-history to the Present

Author(s): Mike Osborne 

ISBN: 9781781558317
£14.00 £20.00
The first comprehensive account of Bedfordshire’s fortifications, defensible structures and military heritage.
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  • A survey of Bedfordshire’s defences over the centuries based on extensive fieldwork and documentary evidence

  • The social, political, historical and military contexts for Bedfordshire’s defences

  • Unpublished photographs highlighting the varied nature of Bedfordshire’s defences

  • Appendices supplementing the text with comprehensive details of the specific classes of sites and monuments

Proximity to major thoroughfares have, over the centuries, given Bedfordshire some measure of strategic importance. Iron-age forts occupy significant locations and castles demonstrate how control was enforced after the Norman invasion of 1066.

The county was the scene of two major events in mediaeval times: in 1224, the siege of Bedford Castle marked Henry III’s attempt to re-impose royal authority and at the Second Battle of St Albans in 1461, a Lancastrian army arriving from Dunstable achieved a major Yorkist defeat.

During the twentieth century, the county’s industrial base provided necessary materiel for the armies fighting overseas. In the Second World War, it made a significant contribution to the birth of the RAF as well as providing the base for the Home Defence armies.

During the war, RAF and USAAF bombers took off from our airfields, but the major activity was a secret war largely located in the Bedford Triangle.

After the war, aeronautical research continued at RAF Thurleigh/Twinwood Farm and electronic intelligence-gathering was developed at Chicksands.

BOOK ISBN 9781781558317
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 208 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 119 black-and-white illustrations and photographs



Mike Osborne’s interest in fortification began with childhood visits to castles. It has developed over the years to include all aspects of the topic from iron-age forts to Cold War bunkers. He was a volunteer-co-ordinator for the Defence of Britain Project recording the military structures of the twentieth century. After a thirty-year career in education, he took early retirement and since then has produced nearly twenty books. Topics include Civil War sieges and fortifications, drill halls, twentieth-century military structures and the best-selling Defending Britain.