Born into a working-class family in London in 1919, Victor Gregg enlisted in the Rifle Brigade at nineteen, was sent to the Middle East and saw action in Palestine. Following service in the western desert and at the battle of Alamein, he joined the Parachute Regiment and in September 1944 found himself at the battle of Arnhem.
When the paratroopers were forced to withdraw, Gregg was captured. He attempted to escape, but was caught and became a prisoner of war; sentenced to death in Dresden for attempting to escape and burning down a factory, only the allies' infamous raid on the city the night before his execution saved his life. Gregg's fascinating story, told in a voice that is good-natured and completely original, continues after the end of the war.
In the fifties he became chauffeur to the Chairman of the Moscow Norodny bank in London, involved in shady dealings and strange meetings with MI5, MI6 and the KGB. His adventures, though, were not over - in 1989, on one of his many motorbike expeditions into Eastern Europe, he found himself at a rally of 700 people in a field in Sopron at a fence that formed part of the barrier between the Soviet Union and the West.
Vic cut the wire, and a few weeks later the Berlin Wall itself was destroyed - a truly unexpected coda to an incredible life lived to the full. This is the story of a true survivor.
About the Authors
Victor Gregg was born in London in 1919 and joined the army in 1937, serving first in the Rifle Brigade in Palestine and the Battle of Alamein, and then in the Parachute Regiment at the Battle of Arnhem. He was repatriated in 1946 and now lives in Winchester.
Rick Stroud is a film, television director and author. He lives on a houseboat in London.
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Comments about Rifleman:
A very interesting look at the life of an ordinary British soldier in WWII. However, his later exploits seem
a little too much like a page from a James Bond novel.
Comments about Rifleman:
This individual led a charmed life and later questioned the motives and politics behind warfare.
'Completely fascinating. This feels like one of the last voices of a vital generation. For the first-hand account of the Dresden fire-bombing alone, this is gripping reading. It has an immediate power throughout that makes war fiction a pale shadow of the real thing' Conn Iggulden 'Second World War memoirs are commonplace, but very few soldiers had Victor Gregg's breadth and depth of experience. Rifleman is a thrilling story of a young man in extraordinary circumstances. Yet what makes Gregg's story so enthralling is how he was shaped by his wartime experiences and primed an eventful - and dangerous - life behind the Iron Curtain. Rifleman is an outstanding book that deserves to become a classic' Lloyd Clark, author of Arnhem 'Many people performed extraordinary feats of bravery and lived through an astonishing array of campaigns during the long years of the Second World War, yet few can have seen more action than Rifleman Victor Gregg. His hugely entertaining and often moving memoir is as action-packed as any fiction, and yet this is no novel - Gregg's adventures were real. His is truly an astonishing story' James Holland, author of The Battle of Britain and Fortress Malta 'Gregg's description of the bombing of Dresden is possibly one of the most shocking accounts of warfare you will ever read ...his memoir is a gripping life-story: an incident-packed account of heartache, violence and cunning by a man whose will to survive and unbreakable optimism are a true inspiration' Independent
|The Early Years||p. 3|
|The Concrete Playground||p. 6|
|Out of the Rough||p. 11|
|Growing up in Bloomsbury||p. 17|
|The King's Shilling||p. 23|
|Goodbye England||p. 27|
|Under Pressure||p. 47|
|Beda Fomm: A Different Form of Killing||p. 51|
|We Meet the Herrenvolk||p. 56|
|The First Failure||p. 59|
|South Africa||p. 63|
|The Cloak and Dagger Stuff||p. 72|
|The Libyan Arab Force Commando||p. 76|
|The Long Range Desert Group||p. 81|
|Back in the Fold||p. 84|
|Operation Breakthrough||p. 87|
|El Alamein: The Butcher's Shop Opens for Business||p. 90|
|Snipe: 2nd RB Open the Gate||p. 94|
|I Become a Birdman||p. 102|
|Sicily and Italy||p. 109|
|Learning the Hard Way||p. 112|
|Home at Last||p. 118|
|Market Garden||p. 125|
|The Witches' Cauldron: Der Hexenkessel||p. 133|
|In the Cage||p. 136|
|The Work Camp||p. 142|
|Introducing an Honest Man||p. 147|
|The Trial Run||p. 151|
|The Second Day||p. 154|
|Life in Dresden||p. 158|
|The Uppercut||p. 171|
|The Hammer Blow||p. 174|
|It's All Over Now||p. 178|
|Coming to Grips with Life||p. 187|
|I Become a Red, but not Under the Bed||p. 194|
|The Moscow Narodny Bank||p. 200|
|An Enemy of the State||p. 210|
|A Minor Role in the Great Game||p. 212|
|The Final Cut||p. 225|
|I Get My Comeuppance||p. 229|
|The Handover||p. 236|
|The Magyar Experience||p. 246|
|1988: Free at Last||p. 251|
|Time Expired||p. 258|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 273
Published: 7th November 2011
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.227
Edition Number: 1