I found the first installment of Peter Kemp’s autobiography, Mine Were of Trouble, a worthwhile look at the Spanish Civil War, especially since it was from the rare perspective of the Nationalist side. However, this blog is now more focused in the type of books it covers, so I didn’t review it.
This, the second installment, falls more within the penumbra of espionage history category.
Review: No Colours or Crest, Peter Kemp, 1958.
Yes, parachuting behind German lines into wartime Albania on a mission for the Special Operations Executive sounds exciting and the stuff of many a novel. And it was exciting for Kemp.
But it was also full of tedium, treachery, and frustration.
Kemp’s frustration started in September 1939 when war broke out. Kemp had only been back from his time in Franco’s Spanish Army for a month. Kemp had been severely wounded in the Spanish Civil War and admits his nerves were rather shot when he heard the air raid sirens now sounding in London.
Being patriotic, he wanted to go to war again, this time for his own country. His older brother had already been in the British Navy several years. But Kemp’s past worked against him:
Now the weight of Republican propaganda, backed by the formidable organization of European Communism, had dubbed Franco a Fascist, while many of my British friends regarded me as, at best, a Fascist fellow-traveller. Even those who sympathized with me feared that Spain would enter the war against us, although I had seen enough of the devastation and war-weariness there to believe that she would remain neutral.
The local draft board took a look at his recent wounds and told him to come back in six months.Continue reading