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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It didn't end at St Valery - that was only the beginning, 29 Dec 2008
By 
James Kemp (Merstham, Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: St.Valery: The Impossible Odds (Paperback)
This is a collection of first hand accounts, mainly posthumously published from three men who were ordinary soldiers in the 51st Highland Division in 1940. None of them were officers (although one was commissioned after his escape and return home). The main part of the book is a personal account originally published in Gaelic and subsequently translated into english as "A Cameron Never Can Yield". This forms just over half the book and tells the story from the start of the German attack on 10 May 1940 through surrender at St Valery on 12th June 1940, escape on the march into Germany and then life in Marseilles in the winter of 1940-41 followed by a winter crossing of the Pyrenees and time spent in Spanish prison camps before returning to the UK. The other two stories are relatively similar, although neither of the men managed to return back to the UK and they both had different experiences in their prisoner of war camps and work details. All three of them had a horrendously rough time of it, which seems to be the norm for these early POWs (and the later ones too).

Even though I've read everything I can get my hands on about the 51st Highland Division and also lots of personal accounts of both combat and POW life this book was different. Each of the accounts started with a potted history of the person and what they had done before the start of the war, and then ended with what they did after demobilisation. That provided a bit of context, but the most refreshing thing about it was that it was about private soldiers and not officers, which is unusual. Most of the books are written by officers (if first-hand accounts) or by those that would have been had they not become history professors. This puts a different slant on life and makes for a whole different side to the story.

Also, unlike other stories of the 51st Highland Divsion in 1940, it didn't end on 12th June at St Valery, in fact that was where most of the story started.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting account of events that tend to be overlooked when considering Dunkirk., 9 April 2013
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This review is from: St.Valery: The Impossible Odds (Paperback)
This book has particular significance as my late father was taken prisoner at St Valery. I found the book enlightening as it was able to shed light on an area of his life that he rarely talked about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable addition to the Dunkirk / BEF story, 5 Aug 2011
This review is from: St.Valery: The Impossible Odds (Paperback)
This is a well written and deeply moving account of the 51st Highland Division that was cut off in the retreat to the Dunkirk beaches and fought on for a further 10 days before being overwhelmed by the German armies. The personal accounts are told by wonderful Scots highlanders, with a real sense of old fashioned reluctance to describe fully the appalling hardships they underwent over the following 5 years of captivity. That they survived when so many did not, is a real testimony to their unbreakable spirit, and their esprit de corps. The account also finally dismisses the myth that the Division was somehow deliberately abandoned by Churchill, as a sop to the French Government.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: St.Valery: The Impossible Odds (Paperback)
This book provides first hand experience an excellent detail.
It was especially of interest to me as my father was there an captured in. S Valery
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book and good condition, 16 Jan 2014
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This review is from: St.Valery: The Impossible Odds (Paperback)
A void book and quite balanced account of what took place. I used this on a battlefield tour and it was very helpful. The book arrived in good time and was excellent value and in great condition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surrender of the 51st Highland division, 8 Jan 2011
An excellent guide to a little known action of the Second World war. Well illustrated with photos (including of my cousin!)and with maps. Can be recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars St Valery, 27 Oct 2010
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This review is from: St.Valery: The Impossible Odds (Paperback)
Like "Dunkirk: The men they left behind", this book tells the story beyond the rescue of so many from Dunkirk with the ultimate surrender and capture around St Valery and the long years of captivity. It tells the real story rather than the glamourized version
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4.0 out of 5 stars St Valery: The Impossible Odds, 21 April 2010
By 
I. F. Stewart (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Useful background for the historian researching the capture of the 51st Hughland Division in June 1940. However it is very short on detail.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 22 Jan 2009
This review is from: St.Valery: The Impossible Odds (Paperback)
this book is fantastic. just buy it and read it!
i have bought another 5 books, a cameron never can yield,return to st valery,the tarten pimpernell,monty's highlanders,highland division-none bolder! congratulations bill on an excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Oct 2014
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This review is from: St.Valery: The Impossible Odds (Paperback)
good
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St.Valery: The Impossible Odds
St.Valery: The Impossible Odds by Bill Innes (Paperback - 1 Mar 2007)
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