This image is the cover for the book Behind Enemy Lines with the SOE

Behind Enemy Lines with the SOE

With his special forces training completed, Sergeant Roland Barker was allocated to Operation Arundel as its radio operator. Led by Major Bill Smallwood, he was parachuted into the Dolomites in 1944. The team’s brief was to cause havoc in the area around the Italian border and to infiltrate into Austria. During the mission, Major Smallwood was injured in a fall and was unable to move rapidly. Despite their best efforts, both Smallwood and Barker were subsequently captured by pursuing German troops who they were unable to outpace. Barker provides a vivid account of being ‘interrogated’ by the SS and Gestapo and despite the threats and the terrible conditions, the true nature of their mission was never revealed to the enemy. Having survived these experiences, he was incarcerated in Stalag Luft XVIII in Southern Austria. Ever defiant, Barker escaped by having himself admitted to the camp hospital and made his way into Hungary, from where, as this account of his wartime service reveals, he was eventually repatriated to the UK. After the war Barker opted to remain in the Army, at which point he took a commission. Promoted to Major, Barker became the Officer Commanding 22 SAS in Malaya. He was killed in a helicopter crash in Malaya in 1953, before he could see through his plan to have his memoir published.

Ernest Barker, Michael Kelly

Pen and Sword/Frontline Books