Operation Tadpole by John Bevan


Operation Tadpole, Human torpedoes, Gibraltar WW2, Lt. Commander Crabb, Lt William ‘Bill’ Bailey

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Much of what is known about the Royal Navy’s counter-espionage operations against the Italian frogmen and human torpedo attacks in Gibraltar during WW2 is based on the 1958 film, ‘Silent Enemy’. Cinema, however, is a notoriously unreliable window on the truth.

Lieutenant Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabb was part of the RN diving team in Gibraltar, but not in command. His disappearance in Portsmouth Harbour in 1956 created a furore which the film makers capitalised on; their dramatised account of the wartime underwater operations in Gibraltar put Crabb at the centre of the action. The ‘silent hero’ was actually Lieutenant William ‘Bill’ Bailey.

Operation Tadpole chronicles the true events of the underwater operations in Gibraltar and reinstates Lt. Bailey’s place in history.


ISBN 978 1 9998221 0 1
184 mm x 285mm (7.25 in x 9.5 in)
100 pages
Black and white illustrations throughout

Additional information

Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 30 × 20 × 2 cm