Victor Gregg was born in London in 1919 and joined the army in 1937, serving first in the Rifle Brigade in Palestine and North Africa, notably at the Battle of Alamein, and then with the Parachute Regiment, at the Battle of Arnhem. As a prisoner of war he survived the bombing of Dresden to be repatriated in 1946, and now lives in Winchester. The story of his adult years, Rifleman: A Front-line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall, also co-written with Rick Stroud, was published by Bloomsbury in 2011. Rick Stroud is a writer and film director. As well as working with Vic Gregg on Rifleman he is the author of The Book of the Moon and The Phantom Army of Alamein: How the Camouflage Unit and Operation Bertram Hoodwinked Rommel. He lives in London.
Beginning in 1946, when Victor Gregg was demobbed after the end of the Second World War and deposited in London Paddington, Soldier, Spy is the story of a soldier returning to civilian life and all the challenges it entails. Facing a new and ever-changing London, a shifting political landscape and plenty of opportunities to make a few bob, repairing the bomb damage and doing construction work on the Festival of Britain site, Vic moves from one job and pastime to the next, becoming by turns cyclist, builder, decorator, trade union official, Communist Party member and long-distance lorry driver. Finally he is offered 'a nice clean job' as chauffeur to the chairman of the Moscow Narodny Bank in which he will be able to return home to his wife and children every night. However, there is more to his new employers than meets the eye, and it is not long before his wartime work with the Long Range Desert group catches up with him in the form of an approach from the security services. Lured by the excitement his postwar life has lacked, Vic adds spy to his roster of employments, risking everything in the process.
Ninety-three-year-old Victor Gregg has had a rich and fascinating life. King's Cross Kid follows his London childhood from the age of five, when life was so hard that the Salvation Army arranged for young Vic to be taken to the Shaftesbury Home for Destitute Children. Home again a year later, the scallywag years of late childhood began. Then, after the years of street gangs and run-ins with the law, Vic leaves school at fourteen and his real adventures start, and with them a working-class apprenticeship in survival. Ending with his enlistment in the army on the day of his eighteenth birthday, this prequel to the bestselling Rifleman will appeal to the many readers who were charmed by Victor Gregg's engaging, honest and warm voice.