Richard Milner of Quercus has announced that he has commissioned Dr Robert Lyman to investigate the RAF raid on Amiens Prison in February 1944, widely but erroneously known as Operation Jericho and described as ‘mysterious’ by the late historian of the SOE, Professor Michael Foot.
In recent years doubts have been cast on the original RAF account of the raid, in which the gallant Group Captain Charles Pickard led 19 Mosquito fighter-bombers to break down the walls of the prison, so as to allow the prisoners to escape, many of whom were members of the various local branches of the French Resistance, and some of whom would inevitably face execution at the hands of the Nazis.
Following on from the popular Operation Suicide and his recent Into the Jaws of Death Robert’s new book will be an exciting and analytical evaluation of the raid. Early research already shows that the story is an exciting and largely unknown combination of RAF low-flying precision bombing, French Resistance operations against the Nazi V-weapon programme in north east France and secret MI6 intelligence operations in preparation for D Day.
The book will open up to modern scholarship one of the remaining mysteries of World War Two. Pleasingly, it is also clear that the essential narrative of the raid stands up to objective scrutiny, disproving some of the more recent, fanciful views of the reasons for the raid. Robert has already extensively examined archives as far afield as France and the United States in his pursuit of this story. Jail Busters: The Secret Story of MI6, the French Resistance and Operation Jericho will be published by Quercus in 2014, the 70th anniversary of the raid.