Film star Anthony Quayle featured in memorable war movies from Ice Cold in Alex and the Battle of the River plate to The Eagle Has landed, the Guns of Navarone and Lawrence of Arabia.
But his actual wartime exploits saw him serve as a key figure in a “secret army” being readied in Northumberland in case Germany had invaded during the Second World War.
The then Captain Quayle was intelligence officer for the Northumberland and Scottish Borders hand-picked patrol units, most of whose members were drawn from the Home Guard.
If an invasion had taken place, they would have gone underground and later re-emerged as a resistance army of snipers, trained in unarmed combat, explosives and sabotage.
The actor’s involvement is recounted in a new book which focuses on how the war impacted on people in the North East.
Neil Storey and partner Fiona Kay, who live in Cramlington in Northumberland, have carried out extensive research in the region’s archives, and have also gathered material from newspapers and first-hand accounts of the time, and family stories.
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