Colonel David Smiley was no ordinary soldier.
Through the course of his life he saw conflict in the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
After being commissioned into the Household Cavalry in 1936 and seeing action in the Middle East, he subsequently trained and fought with the Commandos, was recruited into Churchill’s Special Operations Executive, co-operated with MI6 and the SAS, and provided aid to resistance movements across the globe.
Even his service within the regular army was never ordinary; he was frequently the first to be called upon by superiors to lead dangerous missions in Syria and Persia and later served in lightly-armoured dummy tanks in the Western Desert facing German Stukas and powerful Axis tanks.
From Syria to Thailand, Smiley’s bravery, abilities in clandestine warfare, and leadership unified the men he led and caused havoc to enemy forces.
His autobiography, which covers from his entrance into the military before the Second World War to his return to Albania in 1992 after the fall of Communist rule, records a remarkable life spent fighting in regular forces as well as in cloak-and-dagger operations and demonstrates how varied conflict was during the twentieth century.