10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History

D.G. Hewitt - June 22, 2018

Everybody loves a good rescue story – there’s a reason why they form the basis for so many novels and movies. After all, they have everything: peril, suspense, adventure and, if all goes well, a happy ending. And in many cases, real life is far more awe-inspiring than anything a best-selling author or Hollywood scriptwriter could dream up. Over the centuries, men and women have gone the extra mile to get their friends, loved ones, comrades or even complete strangers out of danger.

In some cases, the rescuers would say they were ‘just doing their jobs’, even if they went above and beyond the call of duty. In other instances, civilians have stepped in, or soldiers or others in service have volunteered to put their lives in danger in the hope of saving others. And, while some rescues succeeded thanks to meticulous planning, others are more spur-of-the-moment, relying more on good luck and extraordinary courage than on preparation. There really are countless stories of rescues being pulled off against the odds to chose from. But here are just ten episodes from history where the seemingly impossible was accomplished:

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
The RAF succeeded in freeing hundreds of prisoners in a daring raid over France. Military History Tours.

Operation Jericho

In World War II, precision bombing was nowhere near as sophisticated as it was today. While today’s bombs can be dropped almost on a pinhead, in the 1940s it was often a case of “drop and hope for the best”. In Operation Jericho, however, not only did the pilots involved have the courage to attempt to bomb the outer walls of a French prison, in which they knew Resistance fighters were being held by the Nazis, but they also had the skill. Perhaps a slice of good fortune as well to pull it off! The operation has gone down in history as one of the most audacious rescue missions of the whole war.

It was 1943 and the Nazis were still in control of France. In the area around the city of Amiens, most Resistance cells had been rounded up by the end of the year. In part as a result of Nazi counterespionage efforts, but mainly because the brave men and women had been betrayed by collaborators. Around Christmas time, word got back to the Allied command that as many as 100 resistance fighters were to be executed on February 19, 1943. The free French petitioned the Royal Air Force to carry out a precision raid of Amiens Prison to help the imprisoned men escape. After much deliberation, the plan was given the go-ahead.

The mission, named Operation Jericho, was passed to the men of the Second Tactical Air Force, a small but skilled section of the RAF. They were advised by locals that the prison guards were based in a separate building. The intelligence suggested that by hitting munition dumps, the prison doors could be made to swing open. If the outer walls were also destroyed, the prisoners had a chance to escape. From the start, however, the officers in charge acknowledged there would be casualties. An estimated 700 prisoners were inside, most of them sentenced to death anyway. It was argued that if only a proportion of them made it out, the mission would be a success.

Under the command of Group Captain Percy Charles Pickard the RAF attacked on February 18. They flew in at lunch time, the time when most guards would be in their own mess halls, separate from the prisoners. A first wave of Mosquito planes successfully breached the outer walls. A second wave attacked the nearby railway station, knocking it out. The final wave of Mosquito planes hit the guards’ hut. Pickard flew over the site one last time, checking the damage. Satisfied, he turned homewards. However, his plane took a direct hit and went down, killing both Pickard and his navigator.

At the end of the day, some 255 prisoners made it out, though many would soon be recaptured by the Nazis. They were helped by the fact that the attack on the railway station meant that reinforcements needed two hours to get on the scene. An unknown number of guards were also killed. The daring and audacity of the rescue mission cannot be disputed. Nor can the skill of the men involved. Doubts remain, however, over who actually ordered Operation Jericho to go ahead. According to some, the French Resistance gave the green light, unbeknownst to the RAF. Other historians argue that the British intelligence service, the SIS, gave the order, hoping it would divert attention away from Normandy, where Allied troops would soon land for the D-Day invasions.

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
The SAS executed Operation Nimrod in front of TV cameras. Belfast Telegraph.

Operation Nimrod

Special Forces routinely pull off audacious rescue missions. But to do so on live television? That takes extra daring. But it’s what Britain’s Special Air Service (better known as the SAS) did in the spring of 1980. The stakes could not have been higher: rescue the hostages and be lauded as heroes or fail and be blamed for the death of innocents, with the fallout watched by a TV audience in the millions. Thankfully for the SAS, their political masters, and the hostages involved, the mission was a resounding success. What’s more, Operation Nimrod is now the stuff of legend, not least in Britain.

It all started on the morning of April 30. A group of six men, calling themselves the Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan, calmly walked into the Iranian Embassy in London and announced they were taking control of the building. Since they were armed with machine guns and explosives, and since there was only one armed policeman inside the Embassy at the time, they had it under their control within minutes. In all, 21 people were taken hostage. To secure their release, the terrorists demanded that 91 of their comrades-in-arms be freed from prisons in Iran. The British government was given just 24 hours to make this happen.

Straight away, plans to storm the Embassy and free the hostages were drawn up. The elite SAS were to carry out any rescue mission. At first, however, hopes were high that police negotiators could secure a peaceful end to the siege. They did indeed succeed at getting the terrorists to extend their deadlines. But then, on the sixth day, they executed the Embassy’s press officer, dumping his body out in the street in full view of the watching TV news cameras. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, determined to be seen as tough on terrorists, gave the rescue mission her official green light.

The SAS leaders decided on a two-pronged attack. One team of soldiers would abseil down from the roof and enter the Embassy through third-floor windows. Meanwhile, another team would come out of the neighboring building and break in through the first floor. The two teams would then go through the Embassy room by room until they met. At 19:00 on 5 May, Operation Nimrod got underway. Almost immediately, however, it was in jeopardy: one of the men abseiling down from the roof got stuck. The officer in charge told his men to carry on with the plan. It worked.

The terrorists were caught completely by surprise. The better-trained SAS men swept through the Embassy. All the hostages were rescued safe and sound. Five of the terrorists were shot dead, with the sixth taken hostage. TV viewers had watched amazed as the SAS brought the siege to a dramatic conclusion. The SAS men left quickly and quietly. They became national heroes and Operation Nimrod became the stuff of legend – and a blueprint for other special forces to follow when confronted with a hostage situation.

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
A select group of men rescued hundreds of prisoners in this daring raid. Shadow Spear Special Operations.

The Raid at Cabanatuan

In January 1945, the US Army carried out one of the most daring – and most successful – rescue missions not just of the whole of the Second World War, but in the whole history of warfare. This liberation of the prisoners held in the Japanese camp just outside of the city of Cabanatuan become known as ‘The Great Raid’. Indeed, this episode of history had it all: cunning, courage, audacity and, above all, a happy ending.

The rescue mission grew out of the Battle of Bataan, a huge military defeat for the Americans and their allies. Here, the Imperial Japanese Army took tens of thousands of prisoners. They made them march huge distances in unbearable conditions in what became known as the Bataan Death March. The prisoners were finally locked up in the Cabanatuan camp. And, while many were soon transferred elsewhere, by the beginning of 1945, around 500 men were still being held here in unspeakable conditions. As well as disease and starvation, the prisoners also had to deal with the cruelty of their captors and the constant threat of execution. With General Douglas MacArthur and the US Army advancing, many prisoners thought their time was up.

The American High Command was determined to get the men out, however difficult that might be. The Sixth Army was tasked with drawing up a rescue plan. They recognized the vital role Filipino guerrillas could play in any assault, not least since they knew the layout of the land. Around 100 Rangers and Scouts and 200 guerrillas were assigned to the mission. On January 30, they were given the green light.

Having trekked almost 50km to get into position, the men waited for darkness to fall. Then, all at once they attacked. A special P-61 Black Widow night fighter plane flew overhead and distracted the guards. The Japanese were, therefore, caught completely by surprise when the Americans and Filipinos breached the camp perimeters. An estimated 500 Japanese soldiers were killed in a brief but intense firefight. Just four Americans died. All but two of the prisoners were safely escorted back across American lines to safety.

The Raid at Cabanatuan wasn’t just a huge military victory. The rescued men were able to tell the story of the Bataan Death March. It wasn’t just their comrades and commanders who were shocked. The American public was also horrified, and they resolved anew to get behind the Pacific War effort. The men involved in the rescue mission were commended for their actions by none other than President Roosevelt and their bravery that night has gone on to inspire numerous books and movies.

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
Israeli special forces free more than 100 hostages during Operation Thunderbolt. IWI.

Operation Thunderbolt

According to the historian Saul David, it was the “most audacious special forces operation in history”. Operation Thunderbolt really was the stuff of a Hollywood movie: the odds were stacked against the rescuers and the stakes could not have been higher. But still, against the odds, the mission to rescue more than 100 hostages was a triumph, and its consequences are still being felt to this day.

On June 27, 1976, an Air France plane was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLO). Scheduled to fly from Tel Aviv to Paris, it was diverted to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. The terrorists demanded that 40 of their comrades be released from Israeli prisons. If their demands were not met, they would start executing the passengers. First, however, all the non-Israeli passengers were set free. After that, 94 remained, alongside 12 Air France crew.

Unwilling to give in to terrorists, the Israeli government looked to bring the hijacking to an end. The problem was, the Air France plane was in Uganda, whose leader Idi Amin had expressed his support for the hijackers. Any rescue mission would have to be conducted on foreign soil and in a hostile environment. The crack Israeli Defence Force (IDF), thus devised Operation Thunderbolt fully expecting that their commandoes would have to fight Ugandan soldiers as well as the Palestinian terrorists.

A week after the plane was taken over, the IDF sprung into action. Under the leadership of Yonatan Netanyahu – the older brother of the future Israeli Prime Minister – 100 commandos traveled 2,500 miles to Uganda. They flew low – sometimes at less than 100 feet – to avoid radar. After stopping off in friendly Kenya, they proceeding to Entebbe. Under the cover of darkness, the commandos landed. They unloaded a black Mercedes and two black Land Rovers and drove towards the huge terminal where the passengers were being held, hoping the guards would mistake them for Idi Amin and his bodyguards. Netanyahu had ordered his men to kill the sentries, but they were simply wounded. One was able to raise the alarm.

The rescuers ditched their vehicles and swiftly approached the terminal building on foot. A firefight broke out. Three Israeli passengers were killed, but so too were all the hijackers. The IDF also destroyed most of the Ugandan Air Force. As the rescuers made their escape, they had to engage Ugandan troops. They suffered a handful of casualties, including Netanyahu. Finally, the passengers and the commandoes were on board Hercules transport planes and were flying back to Israel and to safety.

In all, 102 hostages were rescued. Some nations accused Israel of an act of aggression on foreign soil, while others offered their support. For the Israelis themselves, Operation Thunderbolt became the stuff of legend and the men involved, especially Netanyahu, became national heroes.

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini was rescued in a daring mountainous raid. Wikipedia.

The Rescue of Mussolini

Without a doubt Benito Mussolini was a ruthless tyrant, who inflicted untold damage on Italy, not least by aligning his fascist regime with Nazi Germany. Similarly, the wickedness of the Nazis can never be overstated. At the same time, it’s possible to recognize that the raid on the Gran Sasso castle was one of the most audacious – and indeed, impressive – rescue missions of the whole of the Second World War, even if it did end with a fascist dictator earning his freedom, albeit only temporarily.

By the summer of 1943, Italy’s war effort had crumpled. After a series of military defeats, the Americans finally took Sicily at the end of July. The Allies were set to advance on Rome. The King of Italy, as well as many high-ranking politicians and the Italian public, had turned against Mussolini. Even the Grand Council of Fascism held a “vote of no confidence” against their leader. Enough was enough. The King ordered Mussolini to be arrested and replaced him as the head of government.

At first, Mussolini was moved from location to location to make any rescue attempt more difficult. But then he was taken to Gran Sasso, an old ‘castle’ that was once a stately home but was by then being used as a hotel. Though it was hardly a prison or fortress, it was high up in the Abruzzo mountains, making it hard to access – and hard to escape from. Adolf Hitler had other ideas. Determined to halt the American advances through western Europe, he ordered Mussolini to be rescued and asked his men to pitch him ideas. An Austrian SS colonel, Otto Skorzeny, impressed the Fuhrer with his plan to conduct a daring aerial raid on the Gran Sasso. Hitler gave the plan the green light.

Looking at maps of the area, Skorzeny decided against parachuting in. The mountainous terrain made it impossible. But then he spotted a patch of flat land. Surely he could land gliders on there? The plan was set. On the afternoon of 12 September 1943, 12 gliders, carrying 26 crack SS troops as well as a further 82 paratroopers set off. At the last minute, the pilots realized that flat field wasn’t so flat. One glider crash-landed, causing minor injuries to its occupants. Remarkably, these were the only people hurt in the raid. Though the temporary prison was guarded by around 200 Italian soldiers, they were caught by surprise and then overwhelmed by the sight of well-trained SS men pointing their guns at them. After knocking the Italian radio communications systems out, Skorezeny found Mussolini and set him free. A small plane then came in, landed, and flew the deposed dictator to Rome.

After Rome, Mussolini was taken to first Vienna and then to Berlin, where he was reunited with his Nazi allies. The rescue mission was not really a military coup – after all, Italy had been lost. Mussolini was installed as the puppet head of the small Nazi-occupied Italian Social Republic but had no real role for the rest of the war. The mission was, however, a great PR coup for the struggling Nazi regime. Skorzeny himself became a national hero, and even Winston Churchill acknowledged that the mission was one of “great daring”. Ultimately, it would be one of the last Nazi victories of the whole war.

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
Gerard Kuiper was an intellectual and a man of action, as he showed in his daring rescue mission. Universe Today.

Gerard Kuiper saves Max Planck

A rescue mission doesn’t necessarily require car chases, parachutes or shoot-outs to be an act of supreme courage and daring. Sometimes quiet, understated missions are just as impressive, as the rescue of Max Planck showed. The legendary German scientist was stranded in the east of his native country when the Second World War finally came to an end. With the Red Army advancing – and killing, looting and raping with impunity as it did – the future of Planck and his wife looked grim indeed. But the American astronomer Gerard Kuiper had other ideas. Though they were not friends, Kuiper became determined to get Planck out, however risky that might be.

In the closing months of the war, the Americans worked tirelessly to get Germany’s top scientists out of the country and back to the US. By May 1945, this mission was almost completed. Above all, the Americans had Werner Heisenberg and his team in custody. Getting Planck too was seen as a bonus but not essential. And so, when General Eisenhower ruled that the River Elbe would serve as the limit of America’s advance into Germany, it looked like the famous physicist and his wife would be lost to the Soviets. Kuiper, with no official backing, needed to act swiftly. Luckily, he was not only fluent in German but was also a man of action as well as an intellectual.

Commandeering a US Army jeep and convincing two GIs to join him, Kuiper set off into war-torn Germany. Away from the American zone, the country was in chaos. Though the war was over, the Red Army was on the rampage and Germany’s demobbed soldiers were desperate. Against the odds, Kuiper made it to the farm by the River Elbe where intelligence reports had concluded the 87-year-old Planck and his wife were hiding. Sure enough, the old couple were there – and they didn’t need much persuading to jump in the jeep and head west.

On the way back, Kuiper narrowly avoided several Soviet patrols. But still, the rescuers and the rescued all made it back into the American zone. From there, the Plancks chose to remain in west Germany, and Max even got back to work for two more years. Kuiper, meanwhile, retuned to America and played down his role in rescuing Max Planck, ‘the father of quantum theory’. Kuiper, who made a name for himself as a pioneer of astronomy, died in 1973.

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
The US Coast Guard team who rescued the crew of the SS Pendleton all received the highest honor. Berniewebber.com.

The SS Pendleton Rescue

It’s been called “The US Coast Guard’s Most Daring Rescue” and, when you learn just how audacious it was, it’s impossible to argue otherwise. Of course, the brave men and women of the Coast Guard routinely risk their lives to save others. But when they set out to save the crew of the SS Pendleton in February of 1952, they really went above and beyond the call of duty. Against the odds, the rescue mission was a huge success, saving more than 30 sailors from a watery grave.

The SS Pendleton was a huge tanker – a Type T2-SE-A1 – built in Portland in 1944. After a few years toiling for the American government, she was sold to the private National Bulk Carriers in 1948. Despite the fact that T2 ships had earned a reputation for breaking in two in cold temperatures, she remained in service and, at the start of 1952, she was in active service, running between New Orleans and Boston. On 18 February, the crew of the SS Pendleton ran into trouble. They hot a strong gale just south of Cape Cod. Before long, they were in serious trouble. They called the Coast Guard.

A plane was sent to look for the SS Pendleton. Shockingly, the pilot reported that he had found the stricken vessel – and that she had split in two, with both parts in danger of going under. With no time to lose, the Coast Guard sent a ship, the CG 36500 to the rescue. Its captain, Bernard Webber, soon encountered problems of his own. They hit huge waves as they went over the sandbar protecting the Massachusetts harbour. While the crew were safe, the damage knocked out the ship’s compass. They were going to have to find the stricken SS Pendleton without their main navigational aid.

Against the odds, they found the stern section, with 33 of the crew of 41 on it. The massive bulk was rocking back and forth in the huge waves. Webber knew that pulling up alongside it would be suicidal. But still, he wouldn’t give up. Timing it perfectly against the rise and fall of the waves, Webber shuttled his boat as close to the SS Pendleton as he could. The crew also timed their descent down rope ladders and, one at a time, jumped onto the rescue craft. Just one man – the ship’s cook – didn’t make it, falling into the ocean and drowning. With the crew all on board, Webber then fought Mother Nature again to make it back to shore.

For their efforts, Webber and his crew of three were awarded the Coast Guard’s Gold Lifesaving Medal, the service’s highest honor. The daring rescue has since inspired a book and a Hollywood movie. Webber would go on to serve in the Vietnam War and died a hero in 2009.

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
With Pompeii threatened, Pliny the Elder launched a suicidal rescue mission. Western Australian Museum.

Pliny the Elder sets sail for Pompeii

Surely everyone with an interest in history knows the story of Pompeii. But while they may well know that the Roman city was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius, the volcano which looms large over the Bay of Naples, erupted, the true story of the daring effort to rescue the citizens of Pompeii. To be fair, though, not even professional historians have a full picture of what happened on that fateful day. However, there is certainly enough evidence to show that, not only was a rescue mission launched but that it most probably saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.

On August 24, in the year 79 AD, Vesuvius finally erupted after spewing smoke for several days. While several other smaller Roman towns and settlements were affected, Pompeii was worst hit. Many of the inhabitants simply died on the spot as a wave of intense heat swept through the city streets. Others tried to flee but could not outrun the soot and ash. They were simply buried alive, their bodies perfectly preserved and now a popular tourist attraction. Only a small portion of the people managed to get out alive, and some of them had Pliny the Elder to thank for their lives.

We know of the statesman’s mission through the writings of his nephew, Pliny the Younger. According to his accounts, he was initially curious when he saw the black smoke billowing out of the top of Vesuvius. As well as being a politician, philosopher and historian, Pliny the Elder was also a man of science and he was keen to learn more. But what he first thought would be a scientific expedition from his villa at nearby Misenum turned into a dramatic rescue mission. Upon receiving a message from stricken friends close to Pompeii, he decided to act.

As Admiral of the Roman Imperial Fleet at Misenum, Pliny the Elder had men and ships under his command. It’s believed he chose 12 of his fastest warships, each with more than 150 oarsmen. The small armada set out on the 30km journey across the Bay of Naples. They got there just in time. Lifeboats were launched to shore and hundreds of citizens, not just Pliny’s own friends, were brought to the larger ships to safety. However, as Pliny the Younger noted, their leader chose to go back one more time. He was determined to find his friends. As he was bringing a small group of survivors to the beaches and the waiting lifeboats, they were all overcome by a cloud of poisonous gas. They died there and Pliny the Elder’s body was never recovered.

According to one recent study, as many as 2,000 people might have been saved by the rescue mission. Whether Pliny the Elder was driven by humanitarian concerns or simply saw a chance at glory will never be known. Interestingly, however, archaeologists are hopeful that they will soon be able to make use of the latest technology to identify his body from the many found lying in and around the ruins of Pompeii. If they do, surely he will be given a true hero’s burial.

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
Richard Bell Davies’s exploits – including his daring rescue mission – made him an aviation legend. AbeBooks.

WWI ace and the first ever search and rescue mission

The First World War saw the dawn of a new type of fighting: aerial combat. This also meant that this was the first time that countries needed to search for and rescue downed pilots. And it fell to pioneering aviator Richard Bell Davies of the British Royal Navy to carry out the first modern-style search and rescue mission – and, suitably enough, it was a mission straight out of a comic book adventure.

Born in London in 1886, Davies enlisted in the Royal Navy when he was just 15. After almost a decade sailing the world, he decided to take to the skies. He took private flying lessons and then, in 1913, he was accepted into the fledgling Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), making him one of the world’s first combat pilots. Within a year of Davies getting his wings, the First World War broke out. Both sides were keen to see what their weaponized flying machines could do.

It didn’t take long for Davies to make a name for himself. Over the opening months of the bloody conflict he carried out a number of successful bombing raids, most notably taking out German submarine bases along the Belgian coastline. By January 1915, he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order. However, this was nothing compared to his next act of bravery. At the end of 1915, the 29-year-old Davies was tasked with patrolling the skies above the border of the Ottoman Empire. On November 16, he was patrolling alongside another aviator, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie, when disaster struck.

Smylie’s plane was hit by heavy fire and went down. The pilot made a controlled landing and, eager that his machine didn’t fall into enemy hands, promptly blew it up. This meant, however, he was stranded behind enemy lines. With the enemy closing in, and despite the fact nobody had ever tried a quick rescue of this type ever before, Davies went down for his comrade. Smylie was bundled onto rather than into the aircraft and the two men took off to safety. According to legend, it took two hours to get Smylie free, so tightly was he wedged in above the controls.

For his unprecedented actions, Davies was awarded the Victoria Cross and then the Air Force Cross. He soon went back to his first love, the sea. He served throughout the 1920s and 30s and, even though he retired as vice admiral in 1941, he still served his country

10 of the Most Daring Rescue Missions from History
A costly mission finally rescued Lieutenant Colonel Iceal “Gene” Hambleton in Vietnam. Findagrave.com.


During the Vietnam War, numerous American soldiers risked their own lives to rescue their comrades. Some even went to extraordinary lengths to bring home the bodies of fallen servicemen. As such, the story of Bat 21 is far from the only example of a successful and daring rescue mission from this bloody war. It was, however, most definitely one of the most controversial, not least for the number of lives it cost. Indeed, the details were kept secret for more than 25 years. Thankfully, now we know the true, tragic but inspiring story behind Bat 21.

On April 2, 1972, Air Force navigator Lieutenant Colonel Iceal “Gene” Hambleton was flying in the electronic warfare plane with the call sign Bat*21 over enemy territory. All of a sudden, the plane, carrying a crew of six, was attacked. Anti-aircraft fire succeeded in blowing the tail off. As the plane plunges to the ground, only Hamilton was able to bail out. He parachuted to the ground and landed just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two belligerents. To make matters worse, North Vietnamese intelligence had identified Hambleton as a key expert in electronic surveillance. They knew the 53-year-old out there in the jungle and they were determined to capture him, dead or alive.

The Americans launched a rescue mission right away. A forward air controller pilot had stayed in contact with Hambleton as he parachuted to the ground, so they had a rough idea of where he was located. But still, the Air Force man recognized he needed to get to a place where a plane could land to pick him up. He managed to relay messages over the radio and in code using names of American golf courses, so his colleagues knew where to pick him up. Hopeful of getting their man back, the Americans sent a scout plane on ahead. This was shot down, with both pilots forced to bail out. A rescue mission was launched for them, with six soldiers killed carrying it out.

In all, it took 11 days for Hambleton to be reached. During that time, a total of 11 soldiers were killed, a plane was lost and hundreds of American and South Vietnamese troops were placed at severe risk. What’s more, plans for large ground assault were put on hold while the rescue mission took place. Hambleton was forced to steal from villagers to stay alive and even had to kill a peasant farmer who tried to capture him. Finally, Hambleton was located and, under cover of darkness, a Navy SEAL team brought him to safety.

The rescue of Hambleton spawned a book and then a hit movie. It also generated much debate, with some people arguing that it was wrong to put the lives of so many at risk for the sake of rescuing one man. After the war, Hambleton retired from the Air Force and concentrated on his main love in life, golf. He died in 2004 at the age of 85.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Operation Jericho – Mosquito Attack on Amiens Prison.” The People’s Mosquito.

“Go! Go! Go! Thirty years on, the SAS heroes who stormed the Iranian embassy recall in heart-stopping detail their most daring mission.” The Daily Mail, April 2010.

“Raid at Cabanatuan (1945).” Shadowspear Special Operations.

“Was Operation Thunderbolt the most daring mission in history?” The Spectator, July 2015.

“On This Day, 1943, Daring Raid By Nazi Commandos Rescues Mussolini” Steve Balestrieri. Sep 13, 2018

“Gerard Kuiper’s Daring Rescue of Max Planck.” Scientific America.