The wartime adventures of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Wilson DSO*
When Robert Wilson, then a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, returned from the chaos of Dunkirk he immediately answered Churchill’s call for shock troops who would ‘set Europe ablaze’. He volunteered for the Commandos that were being formed, little knowing that as a foundation member of the Special Boat Section he, an army officer, would be going to war in a submarine, with a folboat to carrry him ashore - and, with luck, back to the wating submarine.
By the middle of 1941 he was ‘setting Europe ablaze’ in no uncertain manner, therby setting the enemy’s nerves on edge along the coasts of Italy, Sicily, Greece and North Arica. His daring feats brought him promotion to Captain and won him his first DSO.
In September 1942 Wilson embarked on his tenth and last folboat exploit which earned hnim a Bar to his DSO, but also landed him in an Italian prisoner-of-war camp. But for him the war was not over. He made two ingenious escapes, in the company of ther courageous and resourceful officers, whose stories enhance Special Commando.
Wilson’s true and unusual story underlines the remarkable spirit of the submariners who conveyed him and his folboat to the scene of this daring escapades, and with whom he shared the continual risks of partrolling in hostile waters, including the inevitable retaliation from the depth charges that had to be endured.
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