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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. Captured 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 Sid finds that his SAS experience is in great demand.
This book is a tale of adventure, but will be of interest to anyone studying the Second World War or the early days of the SAS. Most of the historical information is previously unpublished, and much of it is drawn from SAS operation reports in the National Archives and from the war diaries of the Grenadier Guards. The story is accompanied by many previously unseen photographs from private collections, and is brought to life by a series of high quality and accurate drawings depicting the uniforms of the day.
This is an enjoyable human story, but is also an accurate account of military life during the war years, which will be of interest to anyone researching or studying this period.
The book is published by Helion books and can be found on their web site.