Ian Trenowden 1931 -2012 was an Author, Architect, Artist, Pilot and World War II Historian
The Hunting Submarine (First Published 1973 this edition 2012)
Operations Most Secret (2013)
Stealthily by Night (2013)
The Path of Duty, The Life and Times of Bill Beyts (2014)
Baker Street Connection (2012)
A Double Agent in Baker Street SOE, London 1943
Renegade Spitfire (2018)
HMS Tally-Ho, captained by Commander L.W.A.Bennington, was a T-class submarine which achieved spectacular success in the Second World War. Her name was chosen for her by Winston Churchill and it proved a very suitable one for a hunting submarine. In a single wartime commission, lasting from 15th March 1943 to 26th February 1945, she operated in the Malacca Strait. Here, surrounded by enemy air bases and in badly charted shallow waters - so shallow that many experts considered them completely unsuitable for submarine operations - she took a heavy toll of enemy warships and supply vessels. The boat, her captain and her crew are all vividly portrayed in this exciting chronicle which is the fruit of wide and detailed research.
The new electronic format edition, recreated by Mark Trenowden, has been well received with over 9,000 copies sold.
This is an account of the commission in Far Eastern waters, accomplished between 1943 and 1945, of a new submarine, commanded by Commander Bennington. It achieved the most outstanding record of any British submarine operating within that area.
Always aggressive and with varied experience in what the Navy knows as ‘the trade’, Bennington’s bag included a fast and formidable Japanese cruiser, the Kuma, which was sunk on January 11, 1944, off Penang, a large ex-Italian U-boat, the Reginaldo Giuliani, and a considerable tonnage of other vessels of one kind or another. The Tally Ho! Itself suffered only one mortal casualty, and it survived a ramming by a Japanese torpedo craft, which entirely ripped away one of its ballast tanks.
Ship histories, as such, can vary from the good to tedious. This one must be classed as among the best. Although the author was still at school during the period concerned, he made himself acquainted with most of the survivors. He has told their story in a fashion which both they, and the general reader can appreciate – that is to say with enthusiasm but without superfluous frills. It is hard to make the technicalities of underwater fighting simple enough to be appreciated by the uninstructed without becoming jejune, but Mr Trenowden has carried the matter through most successfully in this his first book.
The new edition of Operations Most Secret : SOE The Malayan Theatre with a foreward by the Earl Mountbatten of Burma is now available to buy in kindle format. This edition edited and produced by Mark Trenowden.
Little is known and much less has been written about the Malayan Theatre of Operations of SOE from 1942-1945
Professor M. R. D. Foot – SOE’s (Special Operations Executive) Official Historian - is adamant that no evidence that points to the existence of a German Connection, at Baker Street; French former agents of the Sicherheitsdienst (the intelligence agency of the SS), speaking literally in the shadow of the guillotine, denied that they had ever heard of such a thing. Never the less a high-ranking Gestapo official is on record as having said:
‘What a pity we haven’t got somebody at SOE’s London HQ. We must try to get somebody there.’
Whilst this story does not pretend to be other than fiction, it is an established fact that Squadron Leader Hugh Verity air-lifted Henri Dericourt (the real life ‘Gilbert’) from a field not far from Le Mans - the night before the date of Operation ‘Confiseur’. Although Dericourt returned to France, in May 1943, and found other fields for SOE - many not far south of the Loire - the Le Mans field was never used again throughout the war. This change of venue lends coincidental currency to the notion that the ‘Cygnet’ pick-up operation compromised the Le Mans field beyond further use . . .
This story was researched and in written in the late seventies. Ian Trenowden died in September 2012 leaving behind an enormous amount of unpublished writing. ‘Baker Street Connection’ was a collection of typed pages and long hand notes secured in a binder. I think it is safe to say that Ian had an academic rather than a commercial brain. The story puts flesh on the bones of an interesting idea and includes a wealth of historical insight and detail. I am keen that Ian’s knowledge is kept alive and is passed on to others. The prose is a little dated, and there is the occasional ‘Crikey’, but I think it evokes the era and I could hear his voice on every page.
COPP (Combined Operations Pilotage Parties) was formed in December 1942, when the need for invasion beach reconnaissance and assault guidance for invasion fleets were officially recognised.
COPPs were a revolutionary concept: independent teams, led by Lieutenants, Royal Navy qualified Navigators and Hydrographers - capable of navigating cruisers or aircraft carriers - teamed with Captains, Royal Engineers, preferably commando trained: to make small boat reconnaissances of heavily defended enemy beaches- with full knowledge of proposed major offences,.Where their capture would compromise future strategy.
The idea was scarcely popular to Chiefs-of-Staff: the SBS (Special Boat Service) already existed and it had always been envisaged that the military aspects of beach reconnaissance should be its responsibility…That COPP were set up at all, is entirely due to the efforts of Nigel Clogstoun Wilmott. His Uncle ’Cloggy’ had raised sapper companies of Australian miners, who served at Gallipoli, 1914-1918 war, from him Wilmott had learned the dangers of opposed landing on unknown, uncharted shores. Wilmott had proved that small craft reconnaissance could be done. He and Roger Courtney of SBS had personally reconnoitred the German-held island of Rhodes, using their own improvised equipment in 1941.
Not only did Wilmott secure approval for setting up COPP, he became its Commanding Officer; and personally worked out a rigorous training programme and participated in that too…making himself ill in the process, but it took a lot to stop him.
This is an attempt not only to produce a history of COPP, but in the process to correct a few of the misconceptions about COPP, that have appeared in print to date.
When Ian Trenowden was approached by a former COPPist - with a request to find documents for the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham: he became interested in the subject. Invited to a COPP reunion, in Cambridge, he met Nigel Clogstoun Wilmott - the 'Father of COPP' - and was encouraged to produce this history, whose production has involved years of research
As Public Records Office files on COPP are incomplete – archive material has had to be supplemented by eyewitness testimony of surviving participants.