History of War

ROLL OF HONOUR

Source:   HoW: The preface to the book details the execution of SAS men by SS troops. Why did you choose to open the book with this scene? Ex-Lance-Corporal X:  

A memorial to Sir David Stirling, who founded the SAS. Montgomery reportedly said of him: “The boy Stirling is quite mad, quite, quite mad. However, in a war there is often a place for mad people.”

“THE MEN WHO FOUGHT AND DIED IN THESE OPERATIONS WERE HIGHLY TRAINED, IMMENSELY BRAVE AND UP UNTIL RECENTLY HAVE LARGELY GONE UNRECOGNISED”

“THE BOOK’S AUTHOR, WRITING ANONYMOUSLY UNDER THE PSEUDONYM EX-LANCE-CORPORAL X, SERVED IN THE BRITISH ARMY FOR 12 YEARS AND IS THE HOLDER OF THE QUEEN’S GALLANTRY MEDAL (QGM)”

The Special Air Service and Long Range Desert Group conducted daring, clandestine operations behind enemy lines in the desert of North Africa, the Mediterranean, occupied France and beyond. The men who fought and died in these operations were highly trained, immensely brave and up until recently have largely gone unrecognised. Now, this new book collection recounts the incredible stories of 374 special forces casualties, who are commemorated in sites across 17 countries.

The book’s author, writing anonymously under the pseudonym Ex-Lance-Corporal X, served in the British Army for 12 years and is the holder of the Queen’s to enter. It is a limited print run of box sets and they are only available from . Below, the author explains more about the book and his work putting it together. I’d already been working on the Roll of Honour for a couple of years when I discovered those lines. They detail the last moments of eight members of second SAS who had been captured in eastern France in September 1944 while operating behind the lines. Handed over to the SD, the men had been interrogated roughly then driven to a remote, wooded spot where they were shot one by one in the manner described. Undoubtedly they were afraid but refused to show it. The last simply turned to his murderer and said, “We were good men”. Here was bravery that clearly deserved full, contextual recognition, and these four words inspired me to find and record everything I could about this group of eight, as well as the 366 other members of wartime special forces who are commemorated within this box set.

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