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Blown by Jamie Reid

Blown by Jamie Reid

Model Number: 9781910498064

£20.00 GBP

John Goldsmith is one of the great unsung heroes of World War Two.  An English racehorse trainer and horse dealer’s son, he was born and brought up in Paris and spoke fluent French.  In 1942 he was recruited into the legendary Special Operations Executive, or SOE, and dropped three times behind enemy lines.  On each of these missions he drew on the reserves of nerve and guile that he had acquired in the horse racing world leading his commanding officers to praise his ‘outstanding qualities of bluff and daring’.

Goldsmith crossed the Mediterranean on a felucca or fishing boat.  He was flown in by a Lysander single-engine aircraft and parachuted into Provence to join up with the Maquis around Mont Ventoux.  In 1943 he organised the escape of a French air force general across the Pyrenees but a few months later he was caught by the Gestapo in Paris, only to engineer his own thrilling getaway from a locked third floor hotel room overlooking the rue de Rivoli. One of the safe houses he hid out in while on the run was a flat behind the historic Tour d’Argent restaurant.  By the end of the war he had been awarded the DSO, Military Cross, Croix de Guerre and Legion d’Honneur.

Resuming his peacetime occupation in 1946 Goldsmith was sent numerous French racehorses to train.  Racing had continued in France throughout the war, enjoying the patronage of the German military, and most French horses were fitter and better fed than their rationed English counterparts.  Goldsmith found uncanny similarities between the secret agents milieu and the black market world of Britain’s post war racetracks and, in partnership with a high stakes Mayfair bookie, he orchestrated some of the most audacious betting coups in racing history.

John Goldsmith died in 1972 and, other than a short autobiography published a few years before, has been all but forgotten.  But now, helped by the recollections of family and friends and following extensive research in both Britain and France, Jamie Reid has brought the full thrilling high adventure story to life.