Gentleman Jim: The Wartime Story of a Founder of the SAS and Special Services

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Gentleman Jim: The Wartime Story of a Founder of the SAS and Special Services

Gentleman Jim: The Wartime Story of a Founder of the SAS and Special Services

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Corporals Johnny Rose and Johnny Cooper, also from the Scots Guards and among the youngest of the volunteers, sat next to each other.

Lieutenant Robert Blair 'Paddy' Mayne is famously said to have pulled the entire control panel from the Italian biplane with his bare hands when the elite unit stormed Tamet airfield in Libya in 1941.He was one of the first twelve men who joined David Stirling when he founded the SAS at Kabrit in early September 1941. This remarkable story of Jim Almonds (Gentleman Jim) is set in wartime England, the western desert, Italy and France, and recounts his formative role in the birth of the SAS. Following intensive training in the desert and action at Tobruk, Sidi Haneish, Nofelia, and Benghazi, Almonds was captured and shipped to a POW camp in Italy, where he staged two escapes.

With the mules, who also carried their own fodder, it was slow going back to Keren, the headquarters of Almonds’s command, the Western Province of Eritrea. And within the ranks of the SAS, Blakeney is one of the inspiring pioneers of what has become the most famous military regiment in the world. His death in the desert featured prominently in Rogue Heroes as he was a close friend of SAS founding legend Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne who was also on the mission. After a raid on NOFILIA Aerodrome Jan 1942, he took command of his party after his offr had been killed.SAS jeeps were being used to foray ahead of allied lines to seek out German defenders or strongpoints. Indeed, if ever there was proof a professional soldier can be both ruthless killer and possess great compassion, Sergeant (later Major) Jim Almonds was that rare example. On the other hand, the means to train properly was vitally important; the success of the unit and possibly the saving of lives depended on it.

Almonds was captured by the Italians during a later SAS mission, but was awarded a Bar to his MM for his two escapes. Ms Almonds-Windmill said: "He had assaulted an Italian officer in the escape and was under sentence of death.

Near the river in a small settlement, the shifta had commandeered a couple of thatched huts and lain up for the night. Most of the enemy aircraft had been moved at the last moment but they destroyed those that remained. During the two-month operation, “Fritz”, as the German was dubbed, was made to do the housework and cooking. After the war, Almonds served with the British Military Mission to Ethiopia and with the Eritrean Field Force.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
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