SPECIAL OPERATOR The Rise and Fall of a Cut-Price Spy

Reviews posted on Amazon

Listed below are some of the reviews by purchasers of this book. Pleased that they are mostly 5 Star but for the sake of honesty I have listed the only two critical reviews received so far and leave it to you dear reader to form your own opinion on their worth.

1. 5.0 out of 5 stars. By kelling on 3 Jan. 2016 Format: Kindle Edition

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This is a must read for those who have an interest in the secret world of SIGINT ( Signals Intelligence ). Although books on the subject are already in circulation,few if any cover the work of the Special Operators in such depth. Those were the people who were trained to intercept the raw signals traffic from which the intelligence was made available to the security services ( MI5, MI6, ) the Government and Military Commanders. Chris Boyd knows his subject well and takes the reader on a roller coaster of a ride through the world of spies and spying,as seen and experienced through his own eyes. His story has elements in it of an Indiana Jones adventure,with splashes of humour,for good measure,that could well have come from an episode of the sitcom 'It ain't Half Hot Mum'. More than anything though the book goes a long way in acknowledging the important role played by the Special Operators from all three services in protecting our country. Highly recommended.

2. 4.0 out of 5 starsBy J. D. Hall on 3 Feb. 2016 Format: Kindle Edition

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This book will be of interest to most people with a forces background (especially RAF), including the families who accompanied them on various postings abroad. The writer was a colleague and personal friend of my father and his time in Hong Kong and Singapore evoked many memories, happy and otherwise. Working class men in 1950s HK were a long way from home with no skype or email to keep in quick touch with their families. Even phones were difficult. Consequently, the touching tale of Brummie's mother's bread and butter pudding, arriving in HK after several weeks' travel by ship, reminded me of my own family food parcels. The techie details would probably have earned the author some roubles during the Cold War years, which brings me to the rather embittered tone of the final chapter. My "civilian" friends at the time generally did not believe the atmosphere of Big Brother control that affected even forces' children. If you are non-forces yourself, or if the name "Doug Brittain" means nothing to you, you might find Chris Boyd's suspicions that his phone was tapped, even after he left the service, simply for having a German wife and appearing to have more worldly goods than his salary would justify, hard to believe. You might dismiss his suspicions as paranoia. I don't - as a very trivial example, my father's concern for his career meant he banned me (aged 14) from writing to the Chinese Legation to demand my free copy of Chairman Mao's little red book. Another forces friend was advised never to tell her schoolfriends that her father was in Signals - "just say RAF, no more". Finally, Chris Boyd's description of how he received his BEM, which should have been a matter of pride, shows the RAF of the Cold War years in a very poor light indeed.

3. 5.0 out of 5 starsBy David Topham on 27 Dec. 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

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My previous knowledge of the "Y" scheme made this book a very good read.


5.0 out of 5 stars

By Amazon Customer on 6 Jan. 2016

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By half a crown on 12 May 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

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My initial impressions, upon reading up to his arrival in Singapore.

Albeit self publishing, this book has given the author the opportunity to not only record for posterity an important time in his life, but that of post war Britian. It's an historical record of not only the author's experience, but generally of those he also served with along his career, he has lived and experienced these memories and they should be shared, this is the "Great" missing from Britian nowadays. The unsung hero's. This type of story usually only told to family members.

Plucked from a boy entrant, the vulnerablitiy of not knowing where his future lay, wanting to experience the far distant places dangled in front of him upon enlisting in military service. One has to bear in mind the age of the author at the outset and as his story progresses. I am enjoying thoroughly and look forward to continuing my read.

I will update my review as I continue the journey of the Special Operator.

By Robert William Bertram on 10 May 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

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With a similar raf service background I found some of the content interesting and familiar. However; find it sad that the author shows signs of continuing grievance and a chip (or multiple chips) on shoulder re his treatment as a result of his association (albeit tenuous) with Douglas Brittain.

A great read.

All good

10. ByG. Barclayon 23 December 2016 5 stars

Interesting, informative and entertaining. I had no idea things like this were going on. Good read!!


on 9 November 2016 5 Stars

Bought this book so l would have more idea of the work my late husband work. Although a different era etc some of their reminiscences overlapped. A big thank you for book version.


on 5 November 2016 5 Stars

excellent account of life in the services.


ByFrancis Bradyon 4 January 2017 5 Stars

I remember in 1969, having been posted to RAF Digby as a Special Operator (Voice), that briefings were given by SIB types on the Brittain case. It was all fascinating, but Brittain's "recruitment" especially so. Apparently he made an anonymous phone call to the Soviet Embassy volunteering his services and this was intercepted. A linguist who was called in offered a profile of the caller based on his accent and speaking style, along the lines: "Originally from within 30 miles south of the Trent (I don't remember the exact detail) and probably serving in HM Forces..." Subsequently Brittain was reported by his CO for debt problems and two-and-two were put together, his home was searched and multiple electric shavers were found (a sure sign of guilt in those days). The decision to arrest him was made after he took evasive measures when driving to London. That is what we were told, for what it is worth. Fascinating times!

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 April 2016

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I enjoyed this read,I joined in 1962 and went through the same meat grinder,but in the army version,peculiar shift patterns,long hours with headphones,writers cramp until the army realised typewriters had been invented,had many a chuckle reading it and recommend to anyone who wants an insight to this service trade,IF,'you need to know'!!

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 September 2018

Firstly if you are looking for a technical type of book, as i expected you are out of luck. The title, cover and reviews made me believe this. It does have a tendancy to ramble and has lotd of stories that don't seem ti really go anywhere and at times had me skipping paragraphs. It is more a "capture" of life in the 50's 60's etc which some msy find of interest, but their must be better mote dedicated books for that. If you are looking for an alternate look at raf life, try sabat.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 February 2018

Fascinating book and very anxious to congratulate the author. Please, Chris, if you read this, will you contact me so I can thank you?

Latest comments

05.05 | 11:34

Hello Simon, first of all thanks for visiting my site. Regretably that is not a name known to me but hopefully someone may remember him. Best regards, Chris

04.05 | 19:53

Hi, does anyone remember Denis Walden who spent a number of years at the station?

27.12 | 13:17

Can't say for sure David as that was long after my time there, Do know however that until the closure the main interest would have continued to have been the Eastern Bloc.

26.12 | 18:34

What was the ACARA Linear Array aerial installation in the fields at CSOS Cheadle around 1966 used for?