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Veterans call for Beevor apology

16th November 2009

Second World War veterans are demanding an apology from historian Antony Beevor, who they claim has branded them cowards.

In D-Day - The Battle for Normandy, the writer cites a Canadian major who alleges that the 51st Highland Division dropped their weapons and fled from the enemy.

Beevor also quotes a memo from Field Marshal Montgomery, which claims the Scottish division failed to prove its worth.

However, the 51st Highland Division Veterans Association said the writer should have interviewed the actual veterans when researching the book and is seeking a formal apology for the allegations.

Dr Tom Renouf, secretary of the group, commented: 'This myth that the 51st Highland Division lost its bottle must not be propagated. To say we never fought with determination is a gross injustice.'

He also pointed out that the division's initial commander Major General Bullen-Smith was replaced before the Normandy invasion for failing to inspire confidence, but claimed the courage of the unit was never called into question at the time.

Beevor has written numerous books on the Second World War and won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature for his 1998 work Stalingrad.

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