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"The Longest Day - Overlord Tour"

 

ADRIAN'S BOOKS

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WHAT REVIEWERS   SAID..

‘The work of a compassionate, literate man....an inside view of the final days in the American presence in Vietnam. More important, it is an informative, uplifting inside view of how people cope in times of chaos.'

Publisher's Weekly

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' The author is a veteran of the dangerous world of espionage, special forces and assassins. As Britain's Olympic Attaché to the Seoul Games, Adrian Hill knows all about the behind-the-scenes skulduggery.'

Brian Barron BBC TV News

' The first and crucial point about Adrian Hill's book is its authenticity. The writer knows his setting. From this position of strength he weaves a marvellous tale of intrigue and suspense. Its characters are alive. Its pace never falters and the narrative is always compellingly readable.'

Sir Trevor McDonald ITN

Commissioner for the English Language.

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YOUR SKY GUIDES 

 

ADRIAN HILL

Born in London during summer 1940 when the Battle of Britain raged overhead. That winter the Blitz forced the family down into the coal cellar! After the war the family lived in Middlesex then Staffordshire before returning south. At 18 years Adrian joined the Royal Engineers, gained his parachute wings, and after the Royal School of Military Engineering, became commissioned as an RE officer in 1960.

Eighteen years old and a Sapper - like a Private First Class in the US Army - talking with his CO, Colonel Ian Welstead and his troop commander while sprawled on the grass at Rochester Airfield waiting to jump. The two men bending over while reading the jump manifest are Sergeant Doug Peacock RAF who taught him to parachute and Major David Breeze.

As a young lieutenant, David Breeze jumped over Normandy on the night of D Day only to be captured - within a short time he escaped, stole a German motorbike and found the rest of the British 6th Airborne Division.

Another story about David Breeze tells how before D Day the British 6th Airborne and the US 101 Airborne divisions were based close together in Southern England. One day the colonel of the Parachute Engineers sent for David Breeze and explained that he was all for the men getting along well with their American neighbours but he drew the line at Mohican haircuts - and he had noticed one or two more in David Breeze's troop. The colonel added that expected his young officers to discourage this trend. Whereupon David Breeze removed his red beret and revealed, ' It's too late, Sir, I've already had mine done.'

Most training jumps took place from a small hooded cage suspended below a wartime barrage balloon. The stick squashed into the cage with their RAF instructor and the balloon slowly floated to 800 feet. Whereupon all jumped. Much cheaper than aircraft and far more environmentally friendly! 

Seeking a change from soldiering Adrian joined Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service in summer 1963. One never knows what life will bring...after living through the massive tank battle for Lahore during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, he arrived in Cyprus just in time for the June 1967 Middle East War. Fate also decreed that although a diplomat he was the only Army qualified free-fall parachuting instructor on the island and shortly replaced the departing Doug Peacock as Chairman of the Cyprus Combined Services Parachute Club.

The club still uses the emblem he designed and the original badge hangs on display in Adrian's family home.

After Cyprus the Foreign Office sent him as Vice-Consul to South Vietnam - where rather like Mr Sam Weller's knowledge of London, his duties were both varied and peculiar.

Taking the pulse of the war - a remote CORDS District HQ in 1969

Contrary to media folklore by this stage the US Army in Vietnam was highly adept at revolutionary warfare.

South Vietnam was made up of provinces divided into districts. The real war took place in the hundreds of districts. William Colby, later Director of the CIA, put his officers, young diplomats, aid officials and military officers under one roof and created a highly effective shadow civil government.

Adrian liked and respected Bill Colby - and agrees with his old friend Ambassador Terry McNamara that the ' alliance ' could use a modern version of CORDS in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even at My Lai during this time although more often you met only children, women and old people in the three villages and surrounding countryside, the political damage - if not healed - at least had been bandaged.

 

Pow wow at LZ English. Captains Jim Anderson and Bob Green of N Company 75th Rangers, 173rd Airborne Brigade and Adrian before inserting patrols into the nearby mountains.

The RAF flew Adrian's parachutes from England. Colonel Tran Van Vinh, Commandant of the South Vietnamese Airborne School, closes on Adrian hooking onto the air, sliding towards Vinh's downward path for a link-up in free-fall.

 

The reward for three wars and Northern Ireland. The finest garden view Adrian enjoyed throughout his life - Muri village south of Bern, looking along the Aare valley towards the Monch, Jungfrau and Blumlisalp. The Eiger and Finsteraarhorn are behind the clouds. A novel Spies & Lovers provides Adrian's portrait of the Swiss - he's married to one and his children are dual citizens. See World News and Books.

 

       

While serving in Canada as Director of the British Information Services he somehow found time for writing on airborne tactics and strategy for the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Adrian joined the RUSI when 22 years old. Here's a few days spent as guest of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina when Major General Sandy Molloy commanded the division. Along the skyline a C 141 delivers a company of parachute infantry over Sicily Drop Zone.

Diplomatic duties involved preparations for the Ottawa and London summits when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, and the Channel Tunnel - which he and Regine now use for shopping in France!

Without question his most enjoyable duty as a diplomat was serving as Britain's Olympic Attaché for the 1988 Seoul Games. Waiting for the main passenger on the Royal Flight before take-off from Seoul Airbase.

The late Charlie Palmer, Chairman of the British Olympic Committee is exchanging banter with Julian.

 

 

                                            Margot on graduation day at Newnham College with mother and brother Julian

Keeping the flying tradition - Julian at the controls of a Piper Cub. His other hobby is photography - www.theurbanimage.co.uk - and he's good.

Skiing at Saas Fee over Christmas and New Year 2006 - yep - his first pensioner's ski card. Twenty per cent off.....nicht schlecht....not bad! Aber....but.....once past 70 you can have 50% off a whole season ticket for Murren.....yaaah! 

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