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Drawing on hitherto unpublished personal journals, this account of John Lewes’s life, tragically cut short on 31 December 1941 during a SAS deep penetration patrol, makes for a compelling read. Brought up in the Australian out back where he learnt self-discipline and self-reliance, he went on to have a brilliant career at Oxford University, as President of the Boat Club he was instrumental in the dramatic 1937 victory against Cambridge. Thereafter he spent time in pre-war Berlin where he was first seduced by Hitler’s socialist policies and by a young Nazi supporter, one of the two loves of his life, but soon became disillusioned, establishing links with opposition factions.
Despite his lack of military experience, Jock quickly proved himself a radical tactical thinker and brilliant leader and trainer of men, a rare combination. He also developed, and gave his name to, the lethally effective Lewes Bomb. His exceptional talents found statement in the development of the SAS concept and the ethos. Without his and David Stirling's partnership there would have been no Special Air Service; as Stirling later chivalrously admitted, 'Jock Lewes could far more genuinely claim to be the founder of the SAS than I'.
As well as being the long overdue biography of this highly gifted and complex individual, Jock Lewes, Co-founder of the SAS, is a major contribution to the bibliography of British Special Forces.
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