Popskis Private Army

#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...
 
#9
A good read, shows how yet another "private" army fitted in. LRDG, SAS etc etc.
 
#10
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.
 
#11
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
 
#12
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....
 
#13
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
ras@popski.com
http://www.beanpix.com/gallery/friendsofppa/
 
#16
Indirectly related to this topic.

On a selection course in 1972, the training Sgt Mjr. Georgie L couldn't get his tongue around a participants name, one Andy Zipkowiak(spelling?) and instead called him 'Popski'. There followed a 10 minute explanation of PPA. From then, until his untimely demise Andy was known as 'Popski'
 
#17
Hi I am the grandaughter of one of popskis men, he is in the book and have to say they did a fantastic job out there, I am sooo proud of my grandfather in every sense, however he never collected any medals due to him, and would not discuss what happened out there as it was too horrific, can you imagine the sights they saw. They were all good men, one I know is still alive at 88 and a true gentleman. I wish there were a video or film around.
 
#18
popski said:
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
ras@popski.com
http://www.beanpix.com/gallery/friendsofppa/
Good for you mate.
 
#19
coggys said:
Hi I am the grandaughter of one of popskis men, he is in the book and have to say they did a fantastic job out there, I am sooo proud of my grandfather in every sense, however he never collected any medals due to him, and would not discuss what happened out there as it was too horrific, can you imagine the sights they saw. They were all good men, one I know is still alive at 88 and a true gentleman. I wish there were a video or film around.
Welcome, thats some Grandfather you have, I know that various film treatments have been mooted down the years and its possible that one will get made given the surge in interest in WWII.

You should try to get the Gentleman who is alive to record some stuff, he'll trust you as your family, it would be good to get some stories saved for future generations.
 
#20
coggys said:
Hi I am the grandaughter of one of popskis men, he is in the book and have to say they did a fantastic job out there, I am sooo proud of my grandfather in every sense, however he never collected any medals due to him, and would not discuss what happened out there as it was too horrific, can you imagine the sights they saw. They were all good men, one I know is still alive at 88 and a true gentleman. I wish there were a video or film around.

Hello, Your Grandad was a brave man thats for sure.

The book should be required reading for schools.
 
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