Confessions of a Special Agent (Kindle)
Wartime Service in the Small Scale Raiding Force and SOE
Many are the tales of young men lying about their age to join the Army, yet Jack Evans sought far more at the age of just possibly just seventeen – to act behind enemy lines as an agent of the Special Operations Executive.
Evans had joined the RAF in 1940, despite being well under the legal age, and two years later was recruited into the SOE as a member of the Small Scale Raiding Force. Evans related his experiences with the SOE to author Ernest Dudley in the 1950s, in which he describes his training, including learning how to jump by parachute in preparation for an operation into France – though he was withdrawn from the operation when his true age was disclosed. He then joined the SSRF, taking part in a number of raids upon Occupied France.
Evans was then transferred to the Brandon Mission in Africa. This involved an eight-man team being parachuted into Tunisia to attack a railway line. In 1943 he was promoted to the rank of captain and parachuted into France, only to be captured by the Germans and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III for the remainder of the war.
Evans suffered considerable mental trauma from his time behind enemy lines and his internment at the hands of the Germans and was unable to settle into normal civilian life. His astonishing story, written so soon after the end of the war, was considered in many respects to be ahead of its time.
The impression is of being in front of a book written yesterday and not 60 and more years ago. A book that I recommend reading to discover a little-known page concerning the Small Scale Riding Force and the SOE (Special Operations Executive) of which Evans was part and of which Dudley, with his refined pen, bears witness to us.On The Old Barbed Wire
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Confessions of a Special Agent is a true novel full of excitement and tense moments. It cannot and should not be compared to a conventional war memoir because its subject and main character are far from being ordinary and conventional themselves. From the page go you get sucked into the narrative and carried along with the tide, seeing the war from a unique perspective. One that is especially interesting and valuable considering that the book was first published in 1957, when memories were still relatively fresh... The story of Captain Jack Evans is certainly an intriguing one, which left me with an added admiration for SOE agents and commandos (if I was indeed needing an extra one), and wondering what became of the man himself. The latest edition, unlike the 1959 paperback "novel sized" edition, brings the story to a modern audience and through its format gives it the credibility which it rightly deserves. Not only that, it is reader friendly and compliments the written word. I would have enjoyed seeing more photos included in the book, but this does not detract in any way from this publication. Would I read it again? Without any doubt, yes I would.The OCAD Collection
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The story of Jack Evans as he told it to Ernest Dudley was first published in 1957, lifting a corner on the world of special forces and the SOE. The story is recounted engagingly and sets out a world of intelligence that is still little known – Most Highly Recommended.Firetrench
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It was a good call to re-print this work so that it would come to the notice of another generation of readers. The descriptions are vivid, his love life exhausting and his training harsh. This all come through vibrantly and the experience of the author as a storyteller is unmistakable. This is a good book and an excellent insight into the reality of Special Forces during the Second World War.Robert Bartlett review, 2019