The Last Gentleman of the SAS: A Moving Testimony from the First Allied Officer to Enter Belsen at the End of the Second World WarHardback
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- Publisher: Mainstream Publishing
- Format: Hardback | 272 pages
- Dimensions: 162mm x 240mm x 27mm | 565g
- Publication date: 27 March 2014
- Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
- ISBN 10: 1780576676
- ISBN 13: 9781780576671
- Illustrations note: 1 x 8pp col
- Sales rank: 137,974
In 1945, John Randall was the first Allied officer to enter Bergen-Belsen - the concentration camp that would reveal the horrors of the Holocaust to the world. Now in his 90s, Randall was one of that league of extraordinary gentlemen handpicked for suicidally dangerous missions behind enemy lines in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany throughout the Second World War. He was a man of his class and of his times. He hated the Germans, liked the French and was unimpressed by the Americans and the Arabs. He was an outrageous flirt, as might be expected of a man who served in Phantom alongside film stars David Niven and Hugh Williams. He played rugby with Paddy Mayne, the larger-than-life colonel of the SAS and winner of four DSOs. He pushed Randolph Churchill, son of the Prime Minister, out of an aeroplane. He wined and dined in nightclubs as part of the generation that lived for each day because they might not see another. This extraordinary true story, partly based on previously unpublished diaries, presents a different slant on that mighty war through the eyes of a restless young man eager for action and adventure.
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After his wartime career, John Randall ran a highly successful business training school and is now happily retired. Adored by his wife, children and grandchildren, he still has passionate feelings about the events of 79 years ago and is the quintessential English gentleman, a quiet man of integrity and with a steely resolve that has carried him through his long and fascinating life. Mei Trow is a military historian who has recently ghostwritten Survivor, the story of Holocaust survivor Sam Pivnik (Hodder and Stoughton, 2012) and Survivor on the River Kwai (Penguin, 2013). The author of 60 books, Mei's output has covered detective fiction, true crime and historical biography.