Wars always produce heroes, and World War II was no exception. WWII heroes vary from the well-known (Audie Murphy) to the lesser known (Oskar Schindler) to the near-completely unknown. Ian Kenneth (Johnny) Hopper was a British citizen living in France at the time of the German Occupation in 1940. Before the war, he had run a small electronics business, and after the war, he became a mushroom farmer. However, he took the German Occupation personally, and unlike so many others, he decided to do something about it.
Between his two uneventful law-abiding careers in radios and in mushrooms lay the years which began in June of 1940 when the German armies overran France and ended in April of 1945 when the surviving prisoners took over the concentration camp of Dachau from their guards. During those years Hopper discovered that he had another calling: he was a killer. For two years before he was caught he roamed the roads of German-occupied Normandy and the streets of German-occupied Paris, committing acts of armed robbery, arson, forgery and murder. He derailed trains, he blew up oil and ammunition depots, he assassinated French policemen and German Army officers, he shot his way out of ambushes laid for him by the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst and the French Gendarmerie.
The war he fought was his own war. He wore no uniform. He reported to no Commanding Officer. He planned and executed his own actions. There is little documentation of his time underground. He kept no records, for records in the wrong hands could kill you. You will not find his name in the official history of British secret operations in France, his photograph does not hang on the walls of the Special Forces Club in London.
Like his fictional counterpart portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, Johnny Hopper, was, essentially, a one-man army. Read the incredible story of this real-life Rambo here.
Thanks to Neatoramanaut WTM, who wrote this item.