Captain Richard O’Brien McNabb was engaged by the Ministry of Economic Warfare in Roumania in May 1940 and moved taken on by SOE in October 1940. He was evacuated to Istanbul and moved on to Greece in November 1940. In August 1941 he was granted acting rank of Captain.
Initially based in Athens, McNabb moved down to the Pelopponese just before Easter of 1941. His objective was to start guerrilla warfare against the axis forces. By September 1941, he was also endeavouring to establish a centre for organising the escape of some 200 British and Imperial troops still at large in the Taygetus mountains, although he viewed that objective, as secondary to guerrilla warfare. McNabb was successful in organising and carrying on his sabotage activities against the Axis forces and for his services in that regard was awarded an OBE. McNabb was considered by some to be “the Robin Hood of the Taygetos” for his daring exploits, and his war deserves to be better known.
McNabb was captured in Greece, and placed in the Averoff prison (Athens) in solitary confinement, condemned to death, reprieved and subsequently taken to a camp in Italy. He managed to escape at the time of the Italian collapse (from Sulmona camp) but was subsequently recaptured by the Germans and taken as a POW to Germany.