A pre-war Sapper, Charlie Radford served in North Africa until he returned to the UK for parachute training. He volunteered and joined 2 SAS in Scotland. His first operation was in France (Op RUPERT) cutting railway lines and he then took part in Operation LOYTON, now in armed jeeps. His next assignment (Operation ZOMBIE) involved parachuting into the Italian Dolomites to disrupt the vital German link north of Verona between Italy and Austria.
This operation ended in failure due to foolhardy leadership, inadequate manning and poor preparation. His OC was captured, tortured and executed but Charlie escaped to live with the Partisans before being repatriated to the UK. After the war he returned to France to help with the exhumation and reburial of SAS men executed in the Vosges mountains. Postwar he served in Kenya and Somaliland and briefly recounts his experiences.
Francis Mackay is the author of two Battleground books on WWI Allied Operation in Italy and two Special Forces books (Overture to Overlord and Operation PRELIM, The Pebble Island Raid).
• First hand account of SAS operations in France and Italy.
• Describes both the training and tactics of SAS operations.
• Reveals the shortcomings of preparation and leadership that led to the disastrous failure of Operation ZOMBIE.
• Describes life with the Partisans in the Dolomites.
16pp b/w plates