In 1942 Micky led his commando troop of 28 men on one of the most daring raids of the Second World War, the assault on the French port of St Nazaire. As a result of this 'night of fire and death', fourteen of Micky's men were killed; seven, including Burn, were captured. Micky's bond with his soldiers is at the story's heart. Before the raid, he had asked his parents to write to his men's families if the worst should happen; the result was the creation of a rich and moving archive of letters between these grieving or anxious families, letters that illuminate the lives and deaths of a small but close-knit group of British soldiers and those who loved them.
Dr Peter Stanley migrated with his family from Britain aged ten in 1966. He has become Australia's leading military-social historian, the author of twenty books, including Tarakan: an Australian Tragedy, White Mutiny: British Military Culture in India 1825-75, For Fear of Pain: British Surgery 1790-1850, Quinn's Post, Anzac, Gallipoli, Invading Australia: Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942 and A Stout Pair of Boots: a Guide to Exploring Australia's Battlefields. He is also the author of Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder in the Great War (Murdoch Books, 2010). Peter worked for the Australian War Memorial from 1980 to 2007, where he was Principal Historian, and is now Director of the Centre for Historical Research at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.