Arctic Snow to Dust of Normandy (Kindle)
In 1939, as a young man, Patrick Dalzel-Job sailed a small brigantine along the Arctic coast of Norway to the Russian border. His crew consisted of an aged mother and a blue-eyed Norwegian school girl. In the following 41/2 years of war, Patrick had many adventures which he recounts in this charming book. His local knowledge and language skills made him invaluable in 1940 and he moved more than 10,000 soldiers of the ill-fated Allied North West Expeditionary Force without loss. Then, acting against specific orders, he used his boats to evacuate all the women, children and elderly from Narvik just before it was destroyed by German bombers. He only escaped a court-martial when the King of Norway sent personal thanks to the British Admiralty and presented Patrick with the Knight's Cross of St Olav.
His later escapades included spells spying on enemy shipping under conditions of great hardship and danger. In 1944/45 he commanded a team of Ian Fleming's "30 AU" working far in advance of the Allied advance in France and Germany. There is strong anecdotal evidence that Fleming based his James Bond character on Patrick. As if this were not enough, Patrick defied authority to return to Norway in June 1945 and seek out the blue-eyed schoolgirl he had had to leave behind. After much difficulty he found her, now a beautiful young woman, and three weeks later married her. The Epilogue is both happy and tragic.
Arctic Snow to Dust of Normandy is much more than a thrilling war memoir. It rates alongside Eric Newby's superb Love and War in The Apennines as a classic romantic story of the wartime years. As an added bonus, this new edition draws extensively on the Author's personal photograph albums. It is a book that will appeal widely and its flowing and graphic style will move and delight its readers.