book reviews , different studio guests each week. Join us every Thursday between 12 and 1pm on Radio Scilly 107.9fm or log on to

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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Damien Lewis - Churchill’s Secret Warriors

Review written by Brian Lowen and read live on the bookshow 11th June 2015

This is the true story of a secret band of raiders that Churchill established to go behind enemy lines to seek out the enemy to harass, capture and demoralise as many of them as possible.

It was the forerunner of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Special Boat Squadron (SBS)
And the SAS. There are two statues in the SAS headquarters at Hereford – one of David Stirling who founded the force, and the other is of Anders Lassen, a Dane who escaped from his occupied country and led all the exploits detailed in this book. It was thought that Ian Fleming based his character of James Bond partly on Anders Lassen.

The book details many of their exploits in the Channel Isles and the Mediterranean Sea. This swarthy, unkempt and bearded band of warriors fought a tenacious war through the Greek islands, harassing the German and Italian forces.

Anders Lassen befriended many of the locals wherever he was fighting to help his small band, but was utterly distraught when reprisals were taken by the Germans against the local residents following one of his operations, but they never let him down by giving information to the enemy.

The story starts with the operation of a Q ship, The Maid Honour, a converted trawler, heavily armed under false superstructure

working in the Channel Islands, then moves to the Greek Islands, finishing with his capturing the second city of Greece, Salonika, bluffing the retreating Germans that he was the advance party of a huge British force and then working with them to finally clear Italy of all German forces.

 It was during this time that he was fatally wounded, having previously survived many hair-raising near misses during all the previous operations where he seemed to lead a charmed life.

A great book if you like a rollicking good war story.

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