The book concentrates on the War time career of Major Colin Ogden-Smith. When the Nazis invaded Poland Ogden-Smith was a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery serving in a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment.
With Hitler’s invasion on France and the Low Countries in 1940 Winston Churchill wanted units formed that could strike back at the enemy in occupied Europe, a call went out for volunteers and Ogden-Smith was one of the first called forward for training in what was to become the Commandos.
After extensive and specialist training Ogden-Smith ended up in Scotland and was posted to The Special Service Brigade (as the Commandos were known at that time). The whole Brigade was subsequently sent to Egypt which was followed by another period of hard training in the intense heat. Operations were planned but cancelled for various reasons, until a raid on Bardia was carried out, sadly the raid was not the success that had been hoped for and a number of men were killed or taken prisoner, however it did have the effect of diverting German resources away from other areas in order to bolster defences in Bardia.
The next posting for Ogden-Smith and his men was to Crete where they eventually acted as a rear-guard and were among the last to leave the Island, the Royal Navy lost nine ships and had a further sixteen so badly damaged that they were out of action for several months.
In January 1942 Ogden-Smith returned to the UK and was posted to the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF), the unit was based at a Manor House in Dorset where further training was carried out. This was followed by small scale raids in France and the Channel Islands.
Following another trip to North Africa Ogden-Smith returned to the UK in October 1943. At this time the powers that be were forming three men teams to be known as Jedburgh’s, These would consist of an American/British Officer, an American/British Radio Operator and a French Officer. Their purpose was to parachute into Occupied France after D Day to liaise with Maquis groups and organise arms and equipment drops to them. The teams would wear full uniform dress at all times so as to be covered by the Geneva Convention.
Ogden-Smith and his team were inserted into France during the second week in July 1944, sadly they were betrayed and he was killed on the 29th July 1944.
An interesting book with some tantalising mentions of others involved in the same sort of work.
The author, Peter Jacobs is a retired RAF Officer who has written several other books.
I would recommend this book and give it 4 anchors.