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You Can't Believe Everything Your Read

While researching the Scottish Military Disasters chapter on the exploits of 11 (Scottish) Commando at the Litani River in 1941 I was lucky enough to stumble across a website run by the son of one of the Scots who fought there. I say “lucky” because it prevented me repeating an error which appeared in nearly every book I consulted. The website identified the Regimental Sergeant Major who took command of one of the parties after all the officers were killed or wounded as Lewis Tevendale. And yet book after book gave his name as, I think, Campbell. The website acted as a red flag and after a lot of further research I confirmed the name Tevendale. Journalists here in Canada are supposed to get a second source for key information.  But because two people say the same thing doesn’t make it true – not if it turns out that their information is based on a single source further down the chain. My research on Tevendale eventually led me to the book that originally named him as Campbell. That mistake was then repeated again and again in books that followed. I was very lucky not to be the latest in a long line of writers giving out wrong information. The book involved was at one time THE book on British commando operations during the Second World War and was by a very highly respected author. Three cheers for websites run by the sons of guys who were there!


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