Popskis Private Army

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Planky_grandson, Jan 18, 2006.

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  1. Has anyone read this?
    Any comments?
  2. Errr what ?????? 8O
  3. Sorry meant the book
    Popski's Private Army by Lt.Col. Vladimir Peniakoff
  4. Read it, and own a first edition, likewise, "The Phantom Major"
    Its a good read, Popski didnt achieve all that much, but you have to admire his guts and determination, especially considering his limited military training and advanced years.
  5. Yes. A good tale but you wonder what the 'PPA' added to the war effort apart from giving employment to an irascible Belgian/white-Russian emigre/toff and letting him notch up a big fuel bill and write off jeeps a-plenty....
  6. When was it first published? I remember reading it as a kid and being fascinated by the idea of driving around in jeeps shooting holy crap out of defenceless trucks......it passed many a boring hour on the A40 imagining I had twin Brownings on top of the sunroof of my Dads' car...
  7. A DSO and MC aint too bad!!
  8. A good read, shows how yet another "private" army fitted in. LRDG, SAS etc etc.
  9. First published in 1950 Popski's Private Army has been published again:

    Peniakoff, V. (2002): Popski's Private Army, Cassell Military Paperbacks, London.

    Also a very good read regarding the PPA is

    Yunnie, P. (2002): Fighting with Popski's Private Army, Greenhill Books, London.

    Park Yunnie served as 2IC to Major Vladimir Penniakoff. He wrote his memoirs at the close of the war, returning to them in the late 1950s, when his account of the 'warriors on wheels' appeared for the first time in print. This new edition also features an Epilogue by Don Yunnie, and a profile of Park Yunnie by PPA member Ben Own.
  10. Thanks for the feedback, next time I'm in Borders/ [insert generic bookstore name here] I'll buy a copy, and keep an eye out for Park Yunnie's book as well
  11. Did not do much apart from start his own private army...

    Its one of my favourite books, very well written and he is far more generous to the LRDG then they where to him.

    The bloke basically rocked up, said I'm a 45 year old Belgo - Russian ( or something ), said he wanted to join, was told to go away, came back and tried again: same answer, said "What about if I recruited my own unit?" and proceeded to do so.

    Even mentions the AFG 1098 kit list....
  12. There are still around 15 of Popski's men alive, including Major John Campbell, the last patrol commander. John was awarded two MCs during his time in PPA. His Sgt, Bill O'Leary, a redoubtable former Para, won the MM. I'm glad to say, the latter's also alive and well. Other members of the unit were decorated too and a number were killed in action, so I think you could say they 'did their bit'!

    PPA might not have achieved what the LRDG achieved, but for a tiny unit (the smallest independent unit of the British Army), it certainly punched far above its wieght, and definitely made a significant contribution wherever it was committed.

    As far as Popski being 'a toff', he was a comfortably off and extremely erudite Belgian, that much is true. As a father of two well into his forties, he certainly didn't have to fight, but he did. He fought for Britain during WW2, being twice severely wounded and twice decorated. He was working for Mi6 before the war ended, and after 1945, he was behind the lines again, this time as a Cold War warrior. These activities cost him his reputation, since many within the British establishment were convinced that he was a Communist. He was not.

    Popski may have been born a Belgian, but he died and Englishmen, having become a British citizen in 1945. He loved this country, and his resolve and determination, his sense of duty and his courage certainly inspire me.

    My pal and I run a society in our spare time that researches the unit and keeps the veterans in touch. We took three of our boys back to Italy last September, where they were feted by the people of Ravenna and Venice - two cities they helped liberate. This year our goal is to raise money for a permanent monument in The National Memorial Arboretum to the men who served in PPA. They deserve it.

    Guy Harris
    Roy Paterson
    The Friends of Popski's Private Army
  13. I am still waiting for a copy to come to me care of Hampshire Libraries.
    This has more than whetted my appetite.
  14. Popski