For just about two glorious years, I was welcomed by historian Alex Churchill into her madcap family of misfits on her History Hack podcast. It was a fantastic time before I decided to launch The Damcasters and strike out on my lonesome.
I joined History Hack to host a dedicated Second World War aviation podcast we called Hedge Hopping. I was able to welcome some incredible guests to the show and also join the main draw with the rest of the team to discuss non-aeroplane history. A few people have asked where they can find the Hedge Hopping Back catalogue, and here it is! All 22 episodes are listed in order of release. I can’t thank Alex enough for the opportunity she afforded me.
Be sure to give History Hack a follow as the team keep producing great history podcasts three times a week.
Hedge Hopping with Matt Bone
HH1 – The Spitfire with Paul Beaver
In the very first Hedge Hopping, author, historian and Mr Spitfire, Paul Beaver joined me to discuss the development, operations and legacy of the most famous fighter in the world, the Supermarine Spitfire. Myths are popped along the way.
You can buy Paul’s book Spitfire People at the Boney Abroad Bookshop on Bookshop.org here.
You can also buy Paul’s superb Spitfire Evolution through the Spitfire Society here.
HH2 – Raymond Collishaw, the Birth of Tactical Air Power and the Battle of Bardia
Mike Bechthold joined me to discuss the career of pioneering Canadian Ace Raymond Collishaw and the birth of Tactical Air Power in the Great War and the developments that would see Operation Compass in early 1941 mark the start of the Desert Air Force and the close air support that would define the war in Western Europe.
HH3 – The Allison Engined North American Aviation Mustang with Matthew Willis
Historian and Boundary of Disaster host Matthew Willis joined me to chat about the marvel that was the early Allison V-1710 engined P-51 Mustang. Given the mythical status given to the later Merlin engined aircraft, Matt makes a compelling argument for the early aircraft’s abilities and the need for reassessment of our understanding.
You can buy Matt’s book Mustang: The Untold Story at the Boney Abroad Bookshop on Bookshop.org here.
HH4 – The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt with Jon Bernstein
Historian and Arms & Armor Curator at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, VA ,Jon Bernstein joined me to discuss the P-47 in combat and the realities of facing Flak over Normandy and North West Europe.
There was a lot of chat from another well know podcast that the Airborne forces dropped in the hours before the D-Day landings we the best trained troops flown into battle by the worst train crews. This is balls. To prove it, I was joined by historian and Boundary of Disaster host Adam Berry and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Dakota pilot Flt Lt Seb Davey to look at the men, their training and the machines of the IX Troop Carrier Command.
You can buy Adam’s books on the IX TCC and the 82nd Airborne at Overlord Publishing here.
HH6 – The Korean Air War with Michael Napier
The popular opinion of the war in the skies of Korea is of jet on jet combat and a new era of air fighting. Yet while the speeds had increased, the reality was still very familiar to the pilots who had survived the Second World War and were head heading to war again. Historian and retired RAF Tornado pilot Michael Napier joined me to discuss the Korean Air War.
You can buy Mike’s Book, Korean Air War, at the Boney Abroad Bookshop on Bookshop.org here.
HH7 – Researching the Luftwaffe with Chris Goss
Historian Chris Goss’ books on the Luftwaffe provide a fascinating insight into “the other side” of the conflict. Chris joined me to discuss his work and the difficulties of the subject matter.
HH8 – The restoration of a D-Day veteran C-47 Dakota Night Fright with Charlie Walker
We took Hedge Hopping on the road for the first time to head up to Coventry Airport to see the progress on the Night Fright restoration with the aircraft’s owner and Project Manager, Charlie Walker.
Learn more about the project here: www.night-fright.com
HH9 – The Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik with Scott Marchand
Hedge Hopping headed East for the first time as Pima Air and Space Museum’s Scott Marchand joined me to discuss the story of the IL-2 Shturmovik and the museum’s aircraft’s recovery and restoration.
Learn more about the excellent Pima Air and Space Museum at https://pimaair.org/
This was a great day out as Chris Sams and I travelled up to the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre at the RAF Museum Cosford to meet the MBCC’s manager Darren Priday. We discuss Bomber Command’s early ops and the RAF Museum’s restoration of two of Bomber Command’s early warbirds, the Handley-Page Hampden and the Vickers Wellington.
HH11 – The Typhoon, Ottawa Memorial and World War 2 Canadian Womens Projects with Anne Gafiuk
Being able to chat with Canadian historian Anne Gafiuk was a delight. Anne is the creator of three remarkable websites that record the stories of Canadians who left home to fight a war thousands of miles away. Anne’s work focuses on the human stories that can be lost to time and they have a wide-ranging conversation about the journey that lead to Anne becoming a historian and meeting Canadian Typhoon pilot, Harry Hardy DFC.
HH12 – The Path Finders with Will Iredale
Rarely does an aviation book come along that you are truly happy to support. Will Iredale has written two! His latest, The Path Finders looks at the Pathfinder Force and at the men and women who made the PFF’s moto, “We Guide to Strike”, so terrifyingly effective.
Buy Will’s book, The Path Finders, at the Boney Abroad Bookshop on Bookshop.org here.
HH13 and HH14 – Birds of Prey Parts 1 and 2 with Dr Philip Blood
This two parter delved deep in the dark reality of the Luftwaffe’s part in the Nazi genocides of the Second World War with Dr Philip Blood. Phil’s book Birds of Prey he analyses the efforts of a Luftwaffe ground unit that attempted to pacify a forest in East Prussian.
In Part 1 of a two-part Hedge Hopping sortie, Phil and I discuss the development of the hunt and the hunter in Germany and how this was Nazified and weaponised in the Third Rich.
In Part 2, Phil and I discuss Goering’s intentions for the conquered lands in the East, the action of the Luftwaffe and they close chatting about the late, great military historian Richard Holmes, to whom Birds of Prey is dedicated.
Buy Phil’s book, Birds of Prey, at the Boney Abroad Bookshop on Bookshop.org here.
HH15 – A Wellington and an Infantry Officer with Jon Bernstein
Jon Bernstein returns to tell the story of how his grandfather ended up carrying a piece of a piece of Vickers Wellington Mk X HF485 throughout his remarkable war through France and into Germany.
HH16 – Hush-Kit‘s Top 5 Underrated Warplanes with Joe Coles
Debate is always welcome, and a debate with the creator of the Hush-Kit website is always a great deal of fun. In this episode, Joe and I went head to head to list our Top 5 Underrated Warplanes of all time!
Get the Hush-Kit Book of Warplanes Volume 1 here
Pre-order the Hush-Kit Book of Warplanes Volume 2 here
HH17 – The Road to the Avro Vulcan with Stephen Liddle
While I couldn’t get Stephen Liddle to chat about his day job, he was more than happy to put his hat as a trustee of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust to explain Avro’s journey to the ‘Tin Triangle’. We discussed the aerodynamics and how the design can be traced pre-war and how the experiences had with the Manchester and Lancaster that would put Avro in good stead to take the lead into the Jet Age.
To learn more about about Avro Vulcan XH558 and the Vulcan to the Sky Trust head to https://vulcantothesky.org/
HH18 – The Life of Karun ’Jumbo’ Majumdar with Jagan Pillarisetti
Being able to chat with Jagan about the incredible ‘Jumbo’ Majumdar was a delight. Jumbo’s career took in the birth of the Indian Air Force and would see him fly and fight from Burma to Normandy. The episode originally went out on the 77th anniversary of his death in a Hawker Hurricane crash in 1945.
HH19 – Operation Jericho with Robert Lyman
I had wanted to chat with Rob Lyman for a while and his new Osprey Raid book on the Amiens Prison Raid gave us the chat to sit down and discuss this remarkable attack and the man who led it, Group Captain Charles Pickard. Typhoons get mentioned.
HH20 – Typhoon Legacy with Ian Slater
Over in Canada, the project to return Hawker Typhoon JP483 to the skies is progressing nicely. I took the opportunity to catch up with Project Lead Ian Slater to learn more about the project, the aircraft’s pilot, Kiwi Peter Price and generally geek out about Typhoons.
You can find out more about the project, JP843 and Peter Price at: https://www.typhoonlegacy.com/
The supporters’ channel can be found at: https://typhoonlegacy.vhx.tv/
The YouTube channel can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/c/TyphoonLegacyCoLtd/
Typhoon Legacy’s social media links are:
HH21 – Summer Preview
In what became a pilot for our podcast, Boundary of Disaster, Adam Berry, Matt Willis and I got together to look forward to a summer that promised Top Gun, new books and we discussed great racing pilots.
You can listen to Boundary of Disaster here.
HH22 – Lancaster with David Fairhead
The final Hedge Hopping was a chance to sit down with the co-director of the new documentary Lancaster, David Fairhead, to discuss the the making of the film, the veterans, filming during COVID and balancing the tone of the film. And yes, I did use the same clip twice…
All clips © Tall Boy Films Ltd.
Find a screening of Lancaster at https://www.altitude.film/page/lancaster
Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/pQE-lV22sTA
HH Bonus Episode – Harrier 809 with Rowland White
In this episode from the main History Hack feed, Rowland White joined the fab Merryn Walters and I to discuss his book, Harrier 809, about 809 Naval Air Squadron and their deployment to the Falklands.