Renegade Hero: The True Story of RAF Pilot Terry Peet and his Clandestine Mercy Flying with the CIA
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Cold war helicopter ace Terry Peet lived for flying. He was a ‘go anywhere, do anything,’ Royal Air Force pilot with a reputation for ‘sheer guts’. Whether ferrying troops to remote jungle landing zones or snatching casualties from makeshift clearings surrounded by two-hundred-feet high trees, he willingly pushed himself and his primitive Sycamore helicopter to the limit. During two years in the hot spots of Malaya and Borneo with the RAF, he repeatedly cheated death and earned a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air. Then suddenly he disappeared without trace, apparently drowned tragically while on a recreational scuba dive off the North Wales coast. Six years later he dramatically reappeared in a back-from-the-dead drama worthy of fiction. The media hailed him enthusiastically as a renegade hero and ‘Flying Pimpernel’ when the story of his mysterious disappearance and subsequent extraordinary double life unfolded.
In fact he had been recruited by the CIA for a clandestine air force involved in paramilitary operations in the former Belgian Congo. He was told that his departure from the RAF had to be ‘covert’. The summary presented in his eventual court martial crucially omitted this. It also failed to disclose that his employment as a mercenary, or ‘contract pilot’ to use the CIA’s more inoffensive terminology, received the tacit approval of British intelligence. Moreover, a claim that the RAF had not seen or heard anything of him following his disappearance in Anglesey was completely untrue.
This book is the true revelation of an entirely mysterious affair as told to the author by Terry Peet.
since leaving Tern Hill he felt like a fugitive. Chapter Twenty-five Paradise Found… Kauai is the northernmost of the Hawaiian Islands, geologically the oldest and the most verdant. Known as the ‘Garden Isle’, it has captivated visitors ever since Captain James Cook became the first outsider to set eyes on it in 1778. There are few places on earth where such an array of stunning scenery is compressed into five hundred square miles with the ocean as an ever-present backdrop. For Jack Harter, a
no question of maintaining his substantive pay since he was ‘starting a new career – at the bottom’. Although angry and disappointed, Terry put the rebuff behind him and concentrated on securing his wings. He thoroughly enjoyed flight training. In part this was due to being teamed up with two white Africans, one from Kenya and another from Rhodesia, with whom he ‘got along very well’. They became thick as proverbial thieves, something not lost on their instructors. At the end of the course all
attaché to the Congo, who was probably also MI6’s man on the spot, Colonel Robert ‘Barney’ Brook-Fox. Slim and of medium height, he walked with a pronounced limp, the result of losing a kneecap when a bomb exploded near his vehicle in North Africa during the Second World War. He wanted Terry to take a despatch back to the embassy in Leopoldville. ‘I’ll be glad to,’ Terry smiled, ‘always pleased to be at Her Majesty’s service.’ ‘Thank you very much,’ acknowledged Brook-Fox. ‘I’m sure we’ll be
to fly it first.’ For Terry the opportunity to work with Bill Close was a godsend. It not only meant that he was still doing some humanitarian work but it also introduced him to Mobutu. He recalls returning from an Operation Survival trip and sitting with Close on the edge of Mobutu’s bed talking about the plight of his people. In the villages, they had taken Polaroid photographs of starving women and children to show him. In one village an old woman with a claw of a hand came out of a mud hut
H-19s with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) markings from a giant C-97 ‘Guppy’ cargo aircraft of the kind then normally used to transport Saturn rocket sections. They had just been flown in from San Francisco. In conversation it transpired that Robards was a helicopter charter entrepreneur from Dansville, New York, who had been contracted by UNICEF to operate an emergency helicopter airlift out of the coastal town of Calabar in the extreme south-eastern corner of Nigeria. An estimated