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The Ploesti Raid Through the Lens
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You haven't talked to THE expert on the Great War until you have talked to Miss Coombs.' So ran one letter received at the Imperial War Museum, London, where for 36 years, from 1946 until 1982, Rose Coombs worked in later years as Special Collections Officer. Her interest in battlefields began at an early age, influenced largely by her father who served in the RAOC, but it was not until after the Second World War (in which she served as a Radar Operator with Nos. 10 and 11 Groups, RAF), that she was able to realise her ambition, through her position at the Imperial War Museum, to visit the battlefields of Europe. During the years that followed, she had the opportunity to make hundreds of visits to the Western Front of 1914-18, on many occasions acting as guide to ex-Servicemen's groups returning to the battlefields. She accompanied authors writing on the period and lectured to groups of all ages, giving freely of her detailed knowledge of the terrain, its history, and the units and personalities involved. In 1976, Miss Coombs combined years of study, travel and research into the production, with After the Battle, of the first edition of Before Endeavours Fade a name specially chosen by her to match the initial letters of the BEF the acronym for the British Expeditionary Force which had set out for France in 1914. She constantly revised and updated BEF' through five editions until her death on January 7, 1991. After the Battle's Editor Karel Margry then took over the task of keeping the guide up to date.

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