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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

An Active Service

So i've been reading this book that has been sat on my shelf for a good few years and i've finally gotten around to reading it.

“An Active Service traces the story of a young Sid Dowland from civilian life into the tough environment of the Guards Depot in the 1930s and then on to a Guards Service Battalion in London and pre-war Egypt. The outbreak of war finds Sid taking part in the retreat to Dunkirk and then service in North Africa before volunteering for the SAS. Captures after a disastrous raid in Sardinia, he escapes from the Prisoner of War Camp in Italy before making it back to England. The end of the war does not signal peace, as the Guards are sent into action in Palestine and subsequently to the jungles of Malaya, where sis finds that his SAS experience is in great demand.”

This is a really good summary of the book (taken from the inside cover) but it does leave out some interesting things, such as:
  • It was due to hs platoon (the Second Battalion) that they re-titled a hill near Eweibid Station, 'Grenadier Hill';
  • Sid was the only person who failed to light his firework in the middle of the Corination paraid in Alexandria;
  • He even got transferred to the First Batallion and was permitted to drive into the Royal Palaces many times;
  • He was personally inspected by 2 different kings during his first two years,
  • When he returned form Egypt he was permitted leave to visit his famil, where unfortunately his dad died two days later of pneumonia

Sid even went on to find the love of his life in 1940 and after 11 long years of being deployed and short stays with Pat and her two sons, he eventually proposed to her. They eventually moved to Lybia in 1953, before settling back into a civillian life near to london some years later.

Sid had a long and full life, dying suddenly in October 2002, at the age of 85.


I still remember him in the hospital, my great-grandfather ... the war hero ...


Wayne said...

My uncle spent 5 yrs in the army mostly overseas in Europe fighting; how he made it back alive and sane amazes me. - Wayne :)

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