Ice Cream Salesman
Doug Cronk was from Southend where he had sold ice cream. He was born in Essex in 1919 and married in 1940 at Blandford, Dorset, where his son was born three years later. His wife lived in Kings Lynn during the early part of the war to be near him.
After serving with the Auxiliary Units, and following return to his regiment, he was later recruited to the SAS. He reckoned that getting in trouble with the MPs while on a night out in Glasgow was actually helpful to improve a soldier’s reputation in the elite regiment.
After being dropped into France, on 30 Aug 1944, following an ambush he found himself in a wood, just yards from a German soldier. The German was throwing a grenade that bounced off Doug’s chin. But he had forgotten to pull the pin, and before he could reach for another, Doug shot him dead.
Doug went on to serve in Belgium, where he saw V2 rockets hitting Antwerp city centre.
After the war he moved to Dorset with his family and became a bus driver. He spoke little of his time in the SAS and never about Aux Units.
Stirling's Men, Gavin Mortimer