An Active Service: The Story of a Soldier's Life in the Grenadier Guards, SAS and SBS, 1935-1958

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Helion & Company Limited, 2005 - History - 211 pages
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An Active Service' traces a young Sid Dowland from civilian life into the tough environment of the Guards Depot in the 1930's and then on to a Guards service Battalion in London and prewar Egypt. The outbreak of war found Sid taking part in the retreat to Dunkirk and then service in North Africa before volunteering for the SAS. Captured after a disastrous raid in Sardinia, he escaped from a POW camp in Italy before making it back to England. The end of the war did not signal peace as the Guards were sent into action in Palestine and subsequently to the jungles of Malaya where Sid found that his SAS experience is in great demand. Sid later told his story to Richard Dorney, himself a Guardsman.

An Active Service is a tale of adventure but will be of interest to anyone studying the Second World War or the early days of the SAS. Most of the historical information is previously unpublished and much of it is drawn from SAS operation reports in the National Archives and from the war diaries of the Grenadier Guards.

The lively text is accompanied by many previously unseen photographs from private collections and is brought to life by a series of high quality and accurate drawings depicting the uniforms of the day. It is an enjoyable human story but is also an accurate account of military life during the war years which will be of interest to anyone researching or studying this period, particularly those with an interest in the early days of the SAS, the world's premier elite force.

Key sales points: Fascinating personal story of a member of the Grenadier Guards and SAS, covering pre-WWII service as a regular, Dunkirk, the early days of the SAS, and postwar Palestine and Malaya / Contains much previously unpublished information from archives and war diaries, as well as Sid's account of the early days of the SAS, and service with the Grenadier Guards / Lively text supplemented by a number of interesting photos and superb drawings by artist Sean Bolan.
 

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Contents

Aldershot November 2002
13
Dorset
14
Caterham
18
Chelsea Barracks
27
Alexandria
34
Back to Slightly
47
The British Expeditionary Force
53
The Road to Dunkirk
60
In the Bag
117
Italy
126
On the Run
130
Freedom
142
Windsor
147
Palestine
159
Home Again
175
Malaya
180

England Threatened
71
The Sixth Battalion
80
The Special Air Service
97
Sardinia
108
Epilogue
193
Glossary of terms
203
Abbreviations
211
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Lieutenant Colonel Richard 'Skid' Dorney joined the Grenadier Guards aged 16. He has served in Northern Ireland (6 tours), the first Gulf War, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as NW Europe, Africa and the Far East. He is a decorated soldier and an ex Regimental Sergeant Major of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. He established the Army Trauma Risk Management Training Team in 2008 and for three years was the Army's non clinical subject matter expert, working with serving soldiers and veterans. He holds an MSc in War and Psychiatry and is a member Combat Stress, The Armed Forces Mental Welfare Society. He was awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable service in Northern Ireland in1994, received an MBE in 2007 and became a Member of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in 2010.

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