He Who Dared and Died: The Life and Death of an SAS Original, Sergeant Chris O'Dowd MM, Gearóid O'Dowd

He Who Dared and Died: The Life and Death of an SAS Original, Sergeant Chris O'Dowd MM, Gearóid O'Dowd

Chris O'Dowd was one of many Irish volunteers who chose to fight in the British army during the Second World War. After a period in the regular infantry which saw him take part in the Norwegian campaign, he joined the Commandoes and then moved on to the newly formed SAS. He took part in many of the early raids in North Africa and the invasion of Sicily, but tragically was killed early in the campaign in Italy.

The author is Chris O'Dowd's nephew. He was intrigued by the story of his lost uncle, but only recently was able to found out any details of his life. That led him into more research, and the production of this book. We follow Chris from his childhood in the west of Ireland, through his decision to join the British army and his early experiences in Norway and with the Commandoes. His story is then intermingled with that of the SAS, starting with its formation as a tiny force and its early missions. The two stories run in parallel for the rest of the book, so O'Dowd's experiences are placed in the wider context of the SAS (and in particular the development of SAS tactics in North Africa and the changes forced on them by the move to Sicily).

This is genuinely a story that needs telling. So 70,000 Irishmen fought in the British Army during the Second World War, and for many years they were treated fairly appalling at home. That has now changed, allowing the role men like Chris O'Dowd played in the fight against Nazi tyranny to be properly recognised.

1 - Early Days
2 - Norway with the 'Micks'
3 - 'Layforce'
4 - A Legend is Born
5 - Chris gets his Wings
6 - 'Up the Blue' with L Detachment
7 - Return to Benghazi
8 - Fox on the Run
9 - New Name and New Leader
10 - 'Like terriers after rats'
11 - Mussolini finito!
12 - Tragedy at Termoli
13 - Aftermath
Appendix: Documents relating to Chris O'Dowd

Author: Gearóid O'Dowd
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 208
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2011

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