Channel to Freedom

Mike Williams

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ISBN (10): ; (13): 9781854188472

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ISBN (10): 1 85418689 2; (13): 978 185418689 8
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Overview

The third part of a fictional trilogy, describing the role and operations of a naval Special Forces unit, based on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly.

It describes the part played in the Second World War, by this ultra-secret unit, from D-Day until the end of the war in Europe. So secret was the real-life flotilla, that news of it was not released, under the Official Secrets Act, until 1995. As the war moves to its climax, the Germans become ever more desperate to regain lost ground.

In operations demanding the highest levels of courage and personal daring, Lieutenant Commander Richard Tremayne’s specialist experience is called upon to counter new German threats. Advanced enemy technology, providing them with battlefield advantages over the Allies, becomes one of his major targets, set against impossible timescales and the most terrifying personal threat.

Leading his highly trained team, he fights on land and at sea, ranging around Europe from the Kattegat to the east coast of Ireland and to the Mediterranean islands off Toulon, as well as his familiar battlegrounds of Brittany. Such covert operations, sometimes straying into neutral waters, place intense political pressures on Tremayne, demanding from him the utmost sensitivity – as well as results.

Content

Principal characters

Maps:
The Isles of Scilly
Crozon Peninsula
Toulon and Les Îles D’ Hyères
Sweden: The Skagerrak and the Kattegat
Lorient Enclave
County Cork

One: Paths To Victory
Two: Operation Snatch
Three: The Chateau Keeps A Strange Cellar
Four: Within A Hair’s Breadth
Five: Operation Dragoon: The Second
Channel Of Invasion 9
Six: Channel Of Invasion Cleared And Open
Seven: A Political Goulash The Channel To Freedom
Eight: Bryher –The Island Of Hills
Nine: Perhaps A Friend For Life
Ten: Blockade Busters
Eleven: A Shock For Tremayne
Twelve: Mayhem In Parallel
Thirteen: Tremayne’s Nightmare
Fourteen: Heart Of Oak
Fifteen: The Final Curtain

Epilogue – 2010

Glossary of naval and Royal Marine terms

Acknowledgements

Reviews

Praise for the Trilogy…

I was once again transported back into Navy uniform and enjoy[ed] being part of the Tresco Flotilla family. I found it hard to put the book down and found myself carrying it around with me and reading it whenever I had more than a few minutes to spare.

Keith Rayner, Editor of Onward, the newsletter for HMS Fleetwood

‘This is a great story, an important one, and is very well told, as it deserves to be.’

Geoffrey Till, Professor Maritime Studies, King’s College London and Director of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies

‘...The story of the Scilly Islands flotilla is part of the larger issue of the small boat campaign of the Second World War. Amazingly, this bitter campaign has largely been forgotten, for books and films have tended to focus on the encounters of giants, battleships and aircraft carriers, both in the European and the Pacific theatres, or the major amphibious operations or the endless battle against German U-boats. Perhaps this is because, comparatively, so few people were involved. Or perhaps it because the strategic effects of the Scilly Flotilla in particular on the outcome of the war are harder to gauge since so much of it was shrouded in secrecy, being bound up with the complex and still contentious story of the French resistance. For all these reasons, small boat operations have been a sadly neglected part of our modern naval history. This is a real pity because, as Mike Williams has shown in this ‘factionalised’ account , the deadly doings of the small boat men were just as dramatic, just as heroic and just as absorbing as accounts of much larger campaigns and battles. We owe Mike Williams a great debt for bring this forgotten story alive, especially as he has done so with such grace and humanity and with a meticulous attention to detail that professional historians would envy. This is a great story, an important one, and is very well told, as it deserves to be._’

Geoffrey Till, Professor Maritime Studies, King’s College London and Director of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies

Tresco played an extraordinary part in the clandestine war against the Nazis. Mike Williams’ own experience with the Special Forces shines through as he skilfully spins an exciting tale around the true story. It is easy to imagine the tension, the bravery and the humour of young men who put their lives on the line to pull off one of the great intelligence coups of the war. A cracking read,

Richard Barber, author of ‘The Last Piece of England’ and Editor of the Tresco Times

...this master of the written word soon has you in his grip. The hero is a modern day Hornblower and very believable at that.

Sea Breezes magazine

Mike Williams let’s you imagine the dangerous waters and desperate times in which the men and women lived – and sometimes lost – their lives in this thrilling fictional account of true events.

Homeport magazine

....an exciting journey across the black waters of the English Channel.

Britain at War magazine

I like to think of him (Tremayne) as a Richard Sharpe for the Second World War.

Chris Thomas, Radio Scilly

The author

Michael Williams served eight years both full time and as a reservist, first in the Royal Navy [intelligence] as a Russian-speaking intercept operator, then in the Royal Marines [SBS and Commando], ending as a Second-in Command of a combined SBS and Commando RMR unit. He is married to the children’s author Brenda Williams. They live in Wiltshire and regularly go hill-walking and canoeing in the Isles of Scilly.

Book Signings

Channel of Invasion Book signing at the Marlborough Literary Festival September 2011

1. Mike Williams reading: Reading from the Channel of Invasion, with a model of the Breton fishing boat ‘Monique’, featured in the trilogy.

 

 

2. The four Wiltshire authors: The four Wiltshire Writers’ book-signings.
 

 

3. We four clutching our books: The Moon rakers’ Quartet! (Wiltshire people are known as ‘moon rakers’).

 

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