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Gentleman Jim: The Wartime Story of a Founder of the SAS and Special Services

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Stirling liked a face to face meeting, possibly with a few key points sketched out on the back of a tobacco packet as an aide mémoir.

Travelling south towards the Allied advance, he met up with an American pilot who had been shot down and they made off together, passing through a minefield which Almonds mapped; he led, telling the airman to walk in his footsteps. This would mean attacking and disrupting whatever was most crucial to the enemy's ability to make progress in winning the war. Stirling later brought the “Tobruk Four” into L Detachment of the SAS Brigade, formed in the summer of 1941.In his authorised biography of SAS founder David Stirling, Alan Hoe wrote: “Sergeant ‘Gentleman Jim’ Almonds… was in many ways to the desert born. He had designed her and memorized the details when under sentence of death in an Italian prisoner of war camp. According to Riley, the boys were all pretty impressed about him having 'smacked' his last CO during an argument, actually knocking him down. Near the river in a small settlement, the shifta had commandeered a couple of thatched huts and lain up for the night.

Dad had been taken by ship across the Mediterranean to Italy and was at risk of being sunk by the Allies.However, it was also renowned for the notorious incident of when Paddy Mayne and his men gunned down Germans and Italians in the officers' mess. After a raid on Nofelia aerodrome [Libya], he took command of his party after his officer had been killed. Never one to employ or permit unnecessary violence, he rescued a captured German motorcycle dispatch rider from the French Maquis (resistance).

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