The previously untold story of a daring and successful Second World War SOE operation makes for gripping reading in its own right. But it is given additional interest by the author's argument that the personalities involved in this venture were the inspiration for Ian Fleming's classic James Bond series.
In late 1941 Brigadier Colin Gubbins, the legendary SOE chief, tasked Captain Gus March-Phillipps to sail the Maid Honor, a Q ship, to Freetown, Sierra Leone. Their mission, codenamed POSTMASTER, was to ‘cut out’ three enemy ships from the port of Santa Isabel, on the neutral Spanish island of Fernando Po, which they successfully accomplished in January 1942. Fleming's role was to ‘oil the wheels’ for SOE at the Admiralty, and to help conceal British involvement. Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden duly told the necessary lies on the international stage. As a result, a secrecy embargo covered POSTMASTER until recently.
The author, an experienced QC, establishes that this operation with Gubbins, who was known as M, equipment chief professional Dudley Newitt and March-Phillipps as key players, set Fleming on his path as arguably the most successful adventure fiction writer of his era.
Readers of this thrilling book will revel in the real-life action that was played out at the height of the Second World War.