For those who wish to know more about Orde Wingate, the SNS Squads, Gideon Force, and the Chindits, the following books should be helpful (there are many):
Christopher Sykes (the son of the famous Mark Sykes of the equally famous Sykes-Picot Treaty and the ''official'' biography), Orde Wingate
Leonard Mosely (a possible member of the famous Sir Oswald Mosely family, but definitely not a fascist!), Gideon Goes to Wa
John Bierman and Colin Smith, Fire in the Night
, 1999 (a title taken from one of the last lines of a poem written by Wingate''s sister Sybil on April 24th, 1944 when she heard of her brother''s tragic death). The latest is by Trevor Royle, Orde Wingate: Man of Genius
Of course the first was by T. E. Lawrence''s collaborator and publicist, Lowell Thomas (always ''Johnny-on-the-spot'' -- he seemed to have had a penchant for getting where the most romantic action was and continued his journalistic career into the late 60''s as the voice of Movietone News
), The Road to Mandalay
, 1951. His book, too, is very heavy on the feats of the American Air Commandos under the leadership of Flip Cochran and Col. (later Major General) John Alison, and their respect and love for Wingate.
There are also books by Wingate''s closest friends and companions: Michael ("Mad Mike") Calvert, the famous guerrilla-fighter and fellow Woolwich alum, Prisoners of Hope, 1971 and Derech Tulloch, his Chief-of-Staff and closest friend from early fox-hunting and post-Woolwich days, Wingate in Peace and War, 1972.
There are also books by Wingate''s column commanders and those who fought with him in the field, whose authors -- though not his personal friends -- are always fair: John Masters, The Road Past Mandalay
, 1961, Sir Bernard Fergusson, Beyond the Chindwin
, 1945 and The Wild Green Earth
, 1946, and Sir Wilfred Thesiger (who fought under him in Ethiopia), The Life of my Choice
, 1987. There are even books that try to redress the balance of the ''official'' calumnies leveled against him, David Rooney, Wingate and the Chindits: Redressing the Balance
Moreover, I myself, wrote my own poem to him on June 6th at the outset of The Six-Day War in 1967. Today, perhaps, I might take back the line reading "perhaps it is better that way," but I will reproduce its lines here just as it was written then, some 45 years ago.
It can also be found in my collection of "anti-Beat Road Poetry": The New Jersusalem: A Millennium Prophetic/Poetic Travel Diario, 1959-62
with An Afterword on the Six-Day War, April-June, 1967
, published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California, 2007, p. 463; and reads:
To Orde Wingate -- June 6th, 1967
Orde Wingate, this is your day --
It is you who foresaw what we could become,
It is you who foresaw the tremendous fighting strength
latent in a Jewish Army;
And it is you who wished to lead us before your life
was cut short.
But never fear, you are with us, you are leading us --
And perhaps it is better that way;
May God forgive me for having uttered those words --
Through the brave fighting men you prepared,
Through the men you trained, even at our Command.
Thank you, Orde Wingate, for we owe a great debt to
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