Three squadrons of Mosquitos streak over snow covered France at tree-top height; their target a prison full of Resistance Fighters and British Agents, their purpose to free them - or kill them - desperate calls to London from the French Resistance told of 100 men and women due to be shot at dawn, and of a British Agent being tortured to reveal the secrets of the Allied invasion plan. Film-star RAF pilot Group Captain Pickard led the raid that smashed the prison's walls and killed the German guards while the Resistance stormed the prison to release their comrades. This is the legend behind one of the most famous precision bombing raids of WW2, a raid of great daring that inspired the films 633 Squadron and Mosquito Squadron - but what was the truth? For over 60 years, this version of events has been believed and many have gone to their graves in the certain knowledge that they had helped save the inmates from certain death and preserved the secret of the coming invasion, but this was not the truth.
Dr Ducellier reveals a web of deceit and half-truths that would have shocked all who took part: there was to be no 'mass execution' there was no 'Secret Agent' and Group Captain Pickard did not bomb the prison; but the raid did play its part in keeping the greatest secret of the war - and fooled Rommel and Adolf Hitler.
Dr Ducellier was a young boy living in the Somme region of France when the Germans invaded in 1940 and the stories of that time were indelibly imprinted in his memory. Many years later he began to enquire into the truth behind the many stories of the war that he had been told - the truth turned out to be even more remarkable than the legend. He is the author of several works in the French language, but this is his first to be translated into English.