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The Secret Channel

This thrilling fictional account is based on true events. Mike Williams, a surviving member of the SBO, has created characters that live on the page and brilliantly evoke the dangerous waters and desperate times in which the men and women lived - and sometimes lost- their lives.


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During the Second World War a great secret was kept from the Nation – and the enemy. Unknown to a war torn Britain, another war of intrigue, covert operations, spies, intelligence gathering and daring was being fought. The battlefield was the English Channel. Under great secrecy an elite force of men and women were gathered on the remote coastline of the Scilly Isles. These men and woman, British and French, courageously kept open secret channels, between England and France, during the Second World War.

The Special boat Operations (SBO) was central to British Naval strategy and planning which operated in a secret and dangerous world at a time when Churchill demanded that ‘we set Europe ablaze’. The SBO was a radical departure from Royal Navy tradition but their ingenuity indomitable spirit, loyalty and success was a major factor in the final success of the invasion of Europe by Allied force.


Principal characters
The Isles of Scilly
Tresco island
Chapter one: This remote and beautiful place
Chapter two: Return to L’Aber Wrac’h
Chapter three: A bunch of Swiss Admirals
Chapter four: The net closes in…
Chapter five: Operation Marie-Claire
Chapter six: Some leave due
Chapter seven: Reconnaissance or raid?
Chapter eight: A postcard from Spain
Chapter nine: Hoist battle ensign
Chapter ten: Farewell to the past.
A new beginning…

Glossary of naval and Royal Marine terms


Praise for the book…

‘This is a great story, an important one, and is very well told, as it deserves to be.’

Geoffrey Till, Professor Maritime Studies, King’s College London and Director of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies

‘…The story of the Scilly Islands flotilla is part of the larger issue of the small boat campaign of the Second World War. Amazingly, this bitter campaign has largely been forgotten, for books and films have tended to focus on the encounters of giants, battleships and aircraft carriers, both in the European and the Pacific theatres, or the major amphibious operations or the endless battle against German U-boats. Perhaps this is because, comparatively, so few people were involved. Or perhaps it because the strategic effects of the Scilly Flotilla in particular on the outcome of the war are harder to gauge since so much of it was shrouded in secrecy, being bound up with the complex and still contentious story of the French resistance. For all these reasons, small boat operations have been a sadly neglected part of our modern naval history. This is a real pity because, as Mike Williams has shown in this ‘factionalised’ account , the deadly doings of the small boat men were just as dramatic, just as heroic and just as absorbing as accounts of much larger campaigns and battles. We owe Mike Williams a great debt for bring this forgotten story alive, especially as he has done so with such grace and humanity and with a meticulous attention to detail that professional historians would envy. This is a great story, an important one, and is very well told, as it deserves to be._’

Geoffrey Till, Professor Maritime Studies, King’s College London and Director of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies

Tresco played an extraordinary part in the clandestine war against the Nazis. Mike Williams’ own experience with the Special Forces shines through as he skilfully spins an exciting tale around the true story. It is easy to imagine the tension, the bravery and the humour of young men who put their lives on the line to pull off one of the great intelligence coups of the war. A cracking read,

Richard Barber, author of ‘The Last Piece of England’ and Editor of the Tresco Times

…this master of the written word soon has you in his grip. The hero is a modern day Hornblower and very believable at that.

Sea Breezes magazine

The author

Michael Williams served eight years both full time and as a reservist, first in the Royal Navy [intelligence] as a Russian-speaking intercept operator, then in the Royal Marines [SBS and Commando], ending as a Second-in Command of a combined SBS and Commando RMR unit. He is married to the children’s author Brenda Williams. They live in Wiltshire and regularly go hill-walking and canoeing in the Isles of Scilly.

A silent hero

One of the last real life characters which inspired Mike Williams to right the Tremayne series recently passed away. His exploits are detailed in the Times article HERE.

The author pays his tribute to one of the silent hero’s of WW2 HERE.

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eBook ISBN-10: 1 85418697 3
ISBN-13: 978 185418697 3
Pages: 0
GBP 4.99
+ VAT @ 20.00%
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Paperback ISBN-10: 1 85418 612 4
ISBN-13: 978 185418612 6
Pages: 390
Size: 216x135
GBP 9.99
EUR 11.99
USD 15.00
Buy at Amazon UK