What Manner of Man: Darnell Bass and the Canadian Airborne Regiment.
Sidney Allinson is a Victoria-based communications consultant, Canadian
news correspondent for Britain’s The Army Quarterly and Defence, and
author of The Bantams: The Untold Story of World War I.
The title derives from a comment by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, who once asked admiringly, “What manner of men wear the maroon beret?” He referred to the headgear of the redoubtable soldiers of the Canadian Airborne Regiment. Co-author Darnell Bass served in the famed regiment until it was disbanded in 1995 and soon afterwards took up bank robbery. This book recounts his experiences as told to co-author James Ogle, a correctional officer at the Toronto (Don) Jail.
Bass’s recollections tell us just how rigorously our special service troops are disciplined and trained. Soldiering became even more demanding after he was accepted into the elite Airborne, a hard-fighting regiment founded during World War Two. The unit’s fine reputation was besmirched when two of its soldiers were involved in the murder of a local teenager during its deployment in Somalia in 1993.
What Manner of Man is the inside story of the death of the Canadian Airborne Regiment, told through the eyes of a proud member who became so embittered by his unit’s disgrace that he turned to crime. Darnell Bass went beyond the Canadian Airborne Regiment to Canada’s secret anti-terrorist unit, Joint Task Force Two, but ended up in the nation’s prison system after a midnight ambush of an armoured car in Calgary—a good soldier’s final downfall.
Greatly detailed and factually accurate, What Manner of Man is a fantastic read.