Author: Giles Whittell
About the Book:
In the darkest months of the Second World War, Churchill approved what seemed to many like a suicide mission. Under orders to attack the St Nazaire U-boat base on the Atlantic seaboard, British commandos undertook "the greatest raid of all", turning an old destroyer into a live bomb and using it to ram the gates of a Nazi stronghold. Five Victoria Crosses were awarded -- more than in any similar operation.
Drawing on official documents, interviews, unknown accounts and the astonished reactions of French civilians and German forces, The Greatest Raid recreates in cinematic detail the hours in which the "Charioteers" fought and died, from Lt Gerard Brett, the curator at the V & A, to "Bertie" Burtinshaw, who went into battle humming There'll Always be an England, and from Lt Stuart Chant, who set the fuses with 90 seconds to escape, to the epic solo reconnaissance of the legendary Times journalist Capt Micky Burn.
Unearthing the untold human stories of Operation Chariot, Bridge of Spies author Giles Whittell reveals it to be a fundamentally misconceived raid whose impact and legacy was secured by astonishing bravery.
About the Author:
Giles Whittell is the author of Bridge of Spies, Spitfire Women of World War II and Snow: A Scientific and Cultural Exploration. He is World Affairs Editor at Tortoise Media, having been the Times' chief leaderwriter for three years and the Times correspondent in LA, Moscow and Washington.