The Italian job

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A new book on SOE agent Dick Mallaby tells the story of his exploits in Italy from 1943-45.

Early in the morning of 14 August 1943, illuminated by a light from the burning city of Milan, Special Operations Executive agent Richard ‘Dick’ Mallaby parachuted into the deep waters of Lake Como. Equipped with only basic equipment which, according to Italian reports, included a sweater, that could be used as a chemical reagent if placed in acid, and an antenna disguised as a clothes line, Mallaby was the first British agent to be inserted into World War II Italy. However, spotted as he descended and quickly intercepted, his mission seemed to be over before it had really begun.

Thus began a series of incredible events which would see ‘Dick’ Mallaby become personally involved in two of the most important events in the history of Italy – the Italian armistice and escape of the king in 1943, and the surrender of 800,000 Fascist soldiers in 1945.

An Englishman Abroad tells his astonishing story for the first time in English, combining a gripping narrative with a wealth of fascinating detail. Gianluca Barneschi reveals the history of one of World War II’s most neglected heroes.

Born in Sri Lanka to English parents and later raised in Italy, at the age of just 20 years old Dick Mallaby fled Tuscany to fight for his native Britain at the outbreak of war. From there, he rose to become one of the most outstanding agents of the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (SOE), and a combination of fortuitous events and his own ingenuity led him to play an essential role in ending the German occupation of Italy during World War II.

  • Osprey Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-4728-3544-4
  • 336 pages. Hardback. £16.99

 

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