Operation Certain Death, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


This book chronicles the story of the single most daring Special Forces operation since World War Two - Operation Barras; the attempted rescue by the SAS of the British Forces who were being held captive by guerrilla gang the West Side Boys in the Sierra Leone jungle.

The West Side Boys were a strange-looking bunch, wearing pink shades, shower caps, fluorescent wigs and voodoo charms they believed made them invulnerable to bullets - an impression re-enforced by ganja, heroine, crack cocaine and gallons of sweet palm wine.

In 1999 a twelve man patrol of Royal Irish Rangers, who were training government troops in Sierra Leone, were captured and held hostage by the West Side Boys.

They were held prisoner in a fortified jungle hideaway, with severed heads decorating the palisades, defended by some 400 heavily armed soldiers.

Operation Barras, the rescue mission, was a combined force of 100 Paras, twelve members of the Special Boat Squadron, helicopters from the Navy and RAF and, spearheading the operation, 40-strong D squadron of the SAS.

Against amazing odds the hostages were rescued - over 150 of the enemy were killed.

Operation Certain Death is a thrilling true story of all out war. No hostages taken. Blood-letting on a vast scale inflicted on a very blood-thirsty enemy.

A gripping piece of true military history, perfect for fans of action adventure stories and anyone interested in the top secret division of the British Army.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 704 pages, 16
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: African history
  • ISBN: 9780099466420



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.

Review by

An interesting account of the operation to rescue British troops and their Sierra Leonian colleague taken prisoner by rebels. It's stirring stuff and makes a good read. I'm not so sure about his background analysis, though, and I think his assertion that military force, including the use of mercenaries, is the answer to many African problems is very simplistic.

Also by Damien Lewis   |  View all