This autobiography is an account of the author's three careers, the first portion dealing
with his service as a young Regular Royal Marine Officer during and just after the
Second World War. Its second part is virtually a sequel to Malayan Patrol as it deals
with the later part of the Malayan First Emergency.
As a young Royal Marine Officer in the Second World War, John Day describes his
training, followed by sea service, in the Arctic and Mediterranean. He then took part in
'Overlord' landings in Normandy when he commanded a Troop in the Special Services
Brigade led by Lord Lovat; this is described in great detail, leading up to him being seriously
wounded on the eighth day of landing. Later he rejoined his Marine Commando
and he recounts events as a junior Officer involved in the liberation of Holland and the
invasion of Germany.
After the war he resigned from the Navy and embarked on his second career with the
Malayan Civil Service, which was to last for seven years. He served mostly in the field
as an Assistant District Officer and, on his second tour, as a District Officer. Again, he
describes in remarkable detail the day-to-day tasks of an Administrator in a territory at
war with a ruthless internal enemy.
His third career was with MI5, which he set out in two chapters to comment upon but,
eventually, he reduced to a postscript advocating responsibility for and oversight of the
This is an autobiography of an Officer of varied careers; one is left with the feeling
that he somewhat regrets abandoning his first choice. The reader cannot be but
impressed with his memory for detail; could he have been a dedicated diary scribe?