Hi all, I'm organising a trek in Albania this September, following in the footsteps of an ill-fated Special Operations Executive Mission - SPILLWAY. It'll be led by Dr Rod Bailey, official historian of SOE's war against Fascist Italy and author of The Wildest Province: SOE in the Land of the Eagle. We're at very early stages, but basically it'll follow the route outlined in the diary (kept against regulations) by Lt Col Arthur Nicholls of the Coldstream Guards. Sadly he died after narrowly escaping capture by the Germans, and remains the only member of the Coldstream Guards to have been awarded the George Cross. The area of Albania where all the action took place is incredibly unspoiled - it only got a road last year, and that ends prematurely. It is tough terrain though, so the trek will be physically demanding, with some scrambling here and there. If you want to find out more just ask here, or ping an email to register your interest to email@example.com. We've got a Facebook page too, at www.facebook.com/soetrails Thanks! Ed And some more info - About Dr Roderick Bailey Roderick is that rare creature - an academic with first-hand experience of conflict (he saw active service with the British Army in Afghanistan, where he was awarded a Queen's Commendation). A graduate of Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities, he is now a Research Associate at London's Imperial War Museum and a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at Oxford University, and in 2012 was appointed by the Prime Minister to write the official history of SOEs war on Mussolinis Italy. Roderick's 2008 history of SOE in Albania, The Wildest Province, was adapted from his PHD and widely praised (see below). His other publications include three best-selling books, on D-Day, the Victoria Cross and clandestine warfare, and he reviews books for the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review, and has written for The Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman and The Independent. Praise for The Wildest Province 'Roderick Bailey's exemplary history... Bailey's accomplished account makes grim reading.' -- Sunday Times 'What makes Bailey's book so readable is not only his grasp of strategy but his hold on tactics and personalities...' -- Literary Review 'Beautifully written and impeccably researched... a compelling work and by far the most comprehensive yet undertaken on the subject...' -- The Times 'A gripping account of two wars...it is hard to imagine the task being done better than this' -- Sunday Telegraph 'Skilful... a scholarly and readable story almost worthy of Buchan himself' -- BBC History Magazine 'This powerful story.. good to see these courageous British agents given another life in the pages of this work.' -- Daily Mail '[An] admirable work of erudition' -- Scotland on Sunday 'Bailey has made skilful use of letters, interviews and diaries...a scholarly and readable story almost worthy of Buchan himself' -- BBC History Magazine An extract from Nicholls' diary, now held at the Imperial War Museum - Saturday 8 Jan 1944 1430 E.F.D. [Brig Davies] standing outside the shed is fired upon from the high ground behind us. We decide to get out quick, making for the high ground. The small column sets off in deep snow and brilliant sunshine, a wonderful sitting target. Agonisingly slow progress is made and no effective reply can be made Heavy and very effective and accurate rifle fire E.F.D. hit in quick succession twice... In accordance with standing instructions A.N. and A.H. [Arthur Nicholls and Alan Hare] push on and in spite of presenting the most wonderful targets, miraculously escape. Are joined by a few Partisans - deciding to try and capture and hold some high ground, are dispersed by heavy and accurate rifle fire at short range. All run for cover of the woods - A.N. and A.H. together. There they lie up until dusk, when they set out to make a forced compass march across the mountains to MARTANESH After appalling experiences in snow drifts, freezing streams etc arrive at 0600 hours, having been continuously on the march since 1700 hrs 8 Jan.