Troubador Escaping the Ordinary

Released: 28/10/2020

ISBN: 9781800460126

eISBN: 9781788030670

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Escaping the Ordinary

How a Founder of the SAS Blazed a Trail at the End of Empire


Little has been written about Britain in the Horn of Africa, Malaya or West Africa. This book recounts post-war unreported military and police operations in those theatres - through the story of one man. He had left school at fourteen with no qualifications but had become a founder of the SAS.

When 1st SAS disbands in October 1945, thirty-two year-old Captain ‘Gentleman Jim’ Almonds, MM and Bar, Croix de Guerre ‘L’ Detachment, 1st SAS, tries to return to an ordinary civilian job. But after helping found the SAS with David Stirling life as a bobby on the beat lacks a certain excitement. Twice a great escaper, he decides he will never settle for an ordinary job. Re-joining the army, he serves as a military advisor to Emperor Hailie Selassie in the British Military Mission to Ethiopia, before becoming Second-in-Command of the Eritrea Police Field Force – a British paramilitary organization. This unusual bandit-chasing outfit of soldiers and policeman faces a blood-stained race against time to catch terrorists (who feature in ‘Wanted’ posters with prices on their heads) in time for Britain to implement a UN Resolution federating Ethiopia and Eritrea under the Ethiopian Crown. The highly dangerous active service requires all British combatants to be volunteers. Much of the man-hunting is on foot but Almonds also flies around in his private Auster aircraft. During the Malayan Emergency, volunteers again for active service again, re-joining the newly reformed SAS and parachuting into the jungle to clear it of terrorists.

Britain’s success in clearing Communist terrorists out of Malaya (compared with US bungling in Viet Nam) remains largely unsung. In Singapore and Ghana, he designs and hand-builds boats (no power tools), sailing his 32-foot ketch, out into mid-Atlantic and back to England. The story is set in the dog days of the British Empire, with snap-shot detail of the many countries in which Almonds served and the ports he visited during his three-month sea voyage.

At a personal level, it reveals more of the enigma of this quiet-spoken Special Forces hero and the kind of family life experienced my brother, my sister and me, as we grew up in an SAS family.

Special Forces Club News

West Country Life

Bath Chronicle

Journal of the Royal Signals Institute

The Guards Magazine

The Guards Magazine

Another fantastic book by the amazing author and her amazing father, gentleman Jim almonds is my all time hero, very brave and physically fit chap who could also build and construct anything, just fantastic, well done Lorna

by Jason Barrett

Another fantastic book by this amazing author about her fantastic father, a very brave and super fit chap who could construct anything, very talented man, my hero, very well done lorna,

by jason barrett

What a fantastic book again from this brilliant author, absolutely amazing chap her father was, so good in everything he did, fab.

by Samuel j

"What did you do after the war Daddy?" was the question Lorna A-W asked her SAS founder member father. The answer was a life of adventure, daring and determination with considerable personal risk. His triumphs in fighting Shifta bandits in Eritrea and communist terrorists in Malaya or canoeing down the River Volga and sailing the Atlantic from Ghana to England across the Atlantic ocean in home built boats are experiences which few other men could match. Lorna's account is good reading and it was books like this which made me join the army many years ago.

by Mike Spence

In more than some ways ecstatic to have read this book since I have a particular interest in British Malaya and Singapore.

I must applaud the author for her accessible and engaging prose style, for it did not intimidate or deter a general reader like me despite my lack of knowledge about boats or sailing. I haven’t enjoyed a biography quite so much in a long time! The stories are nothing short of awe-inspiring! Reading this book has been an exhilarating experience for me. Thank you so much!

by Asera Lim (via NetGalley)

An excellent very readable book.

by steve iceton

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