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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Almonds and three other Special Forces men comprised the famous “Tobruk Four” who used tactics that would later be carried into the SAS. This book recounts post-war unreported military and police operations in those theatres - through the story of one man. In Singapore and Ghana, he designs and hand-builds boats (no power tools), sailing his 32-foot ketch, out into mid-Atlantic and back to England. A little while later, Stirling asked Almonds if he could build them some parachute training equipment. Almonds was captured by the Italians during a later SAS mission, but was awarded a Bar to his MM for his two escapes.

Meet the Lincolnshire man who lived possibly one of the most extraordinary and unusual lives of anybody from our county in the last 100 years. On another raid in the AGHEILA area, he led a party which destroyed 5 heavy enemy MT and he participated in shooting up an enemy post in this locality. In July, after the Allied landings in the south, Almonds was sent to Campo 70, Monturano, near Ancona. AS A sergeant with a troop of No 8 Commando in besieged Tobruk in 1941 “Gentleman Jim” Almonds was recruited by David Stirling with three companions to join “L” Detachment of the Special Air Service Brigade. During this period some of the human cost of war became apparent in Almonds's gaunt appearance and difficulty in readjusting to normal family life.The only way to hunt them down was to chase and catch up with them, then mount an early morning raid before they could move off at daybreak. Apart from the continued bombardment of Tobruk, which was besieged but still held on, peace appeared to have settled over the Western Desert. That first night, after Stirling's talk, bank upon bank of vermilion cloud marbled the late evening sky as the newly formed SAS men began to consider their first night operation, an assault on the New Zealand Army. They could find no boat of any kind, were too weak to travel further and were therefore forced to give themselves up. He and other, rather idealistic, young men had suffered and lost together but they had not given up their ideals.

Thus they became part of that elite group “the originals” of the SAS, as the brigade to which they supposedly belonged existed on paper only — a phantom to deceive Rommel about the 8th Army’s strength. It was designed to be kept working from the 'bleed' of an aero engine and the exhaust of an SAS jeep cannot compare with that from an aircraft engine so the adaption couldn't be done. While here Almonds and three others, on 4, February 1943, bribed an Italian officer and sentry with coffee and remained working in the Red Cross hut till it was dark. The fort features heavily in SAS Rogue Heroes as Stirling, played by Connor Swindells turns his ragtag but fiercely brave recruits into a fighting force. The story is set in the dog days of the British Empire, with snap-shot detail of the many countries in which Almonds served and the ports he visited during his three-month sea voyage.

Asked how she saw her father, Almonds-Windmill added: “It was only writing the books that made me really appreciate quite what an exceptional man he was. In those early days, the SAS had to use a sun compass for navigation, because the metal of the jeep interfered with the magnetic core. Gentleman Jim Almonds, a sergeant in the Guards Commandos, sailed for the Middle East as part of Layforce in January 1941 with David Stirling and others destined to become SAS originals.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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