Mr James Dorrian

World War Two Military Historian, with specialist knowledge of the Army Commandos, Coastal Forces and Operation Chariot, the 1942 Commando raid on Saint-Nazaire


Funny how things come, 'out of the blue' which, while seemingly innocent at the time, serve to change one's life forever.

For me this was the decision, way back in the early '90s, to write a book about Operation 'CHARIOT', the wartime Commando raid which has since become famous as 'The Greatest Raid of All Time'.

I decided to write the book because I imagined that the lives and motivations of the men concerned would be 'interesting'. In fact they transpired to be so absorbing that here I am, a couple of decades later, still transfixed by this unique feat-of-arms: so much so that, having now written two books on the subject and provided the bulk of the information for the Jeremy Clarkson documentary 'The Greatest Raid of All Time' (, I am now a partner in 'Port 20', a new production company formed specifically to bring this extraordinary episode truthfully  to the big screen. Port 20, incidentally, was the last helm order ever given on the bridge of HMS Campbeltown before the battered destroyer slammed into her target lock gate.

During my extensive research I quickly found that some of the Commandos had led lives any writer of fiction would be proud to have created. Amongst these the life of Captain Michael Burn proved so overwhelmingly absorbing that a short bio of him eventually morphed into the feature documentary 'Turned Towards the Sun', my first venture into the world of producing, which film premiered at the BFI London Film Festival late in 2012 (

Although this particular odyssey still has some way to go, I am now researching  another wartime story - this while making a valiant attempt to preserve Micky Burn's century-long, and often disconcertngly chaotic, archive.

Regarding Saint-Nazaire, as webmaster of, the website I created and maintain for the St. Nazaire Society, I am also intent on eventually digitising the whole of my extensive personal archive and making it available to future generations..













Non-fiction Military History, with a particular interest in researching and preserving the individual stories of those who served.
Primarily the early days of Special Forces, but with a strong interest in both Coastal Forces, and Intelligence activities in Occupied Europe.