SAS Trooper - Charlie Radford's Operations in Enemy Occupied France and Italy, ed. Francis Mackay

SAS Trooper - Charlie Radford's Operations in Enemy Occupied France and Italy, ed. Francis Mackay

Charlie Radford was a long-service army man who ended up in the SAS during the Second World War. This is actually an account of the author's entire military career, starting with his early training as an army apprentice and sapper and his early wartime service as an engineer. We then move on to his entry into the SAS, his training and his part in the fighting in France in 1944 and Italy in 1945. After that he returns to the engineers and the final part of the book follows his service as a sapper in East Africa in the post-war period.

While with the SAS Radford took part in Operation Rupert, operating behind German lines in France, and operation Cold Comfort, one of the less successful SAS operations in Italy. The account of this second operation is particularly interesting, as are Radford's views on the reasons for the operation's general lack of success. In his own case his group was dropped in the wrong place, and eventually took part in a separate series of actions, cooperating with the Italian partisans. This section also gives an interesting view of life in the SAS, where the sense of self-sufficiency and a more relaxed attitude to discipline when in camp appealed to the author. The final section, on Radford's time in East Africa after the war, is an interesting view of the last years of the British Empire, in the period just before the outbreak of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. 

This is an interesting autobiography examining the British experience of the Second World War from a slightly different viewpoint - that of a pre-war long-service army man rather than the more normal wartime entry, with a mix of special forces and engineer service. Radford and his editor Mackay have produced an interesting book, of special value for those with an interest in the SAS but also of use for those with an interest on the wider British army.

Chapters
1 - Boyhood
2 - Army Apprentice
3 - Trainee Sapper
4 - Marching as to War
5 - Tunisia
6 - Egypt, Gibraltar and UK
7 - Airborne Soldier
8 - SAS Trooper
9 - Operation RUPERT
10 - Sunny Italy
11 - Operation COLD COMFORT
12 - Moussey
13 - A Sapper Again
14 - Around Africa
15 - Mount Elgon - Uganda
16 - Somaliland
17 - Homeward Bound
Envoi
Postscript

Author: Charlie Radford, ed. Francis Mackay
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 208
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2011


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