A British property developer told yesterday how he crossed three countries in three days to rescue his eight-month old baby from the bombing onslaught in Lebanon.
Joe Lalonde, aged 43, from Bristol, and his Lebanese wife Dina had left Brian in the care of his maternal Lebanese grandparents in Beirut while they enjoyed a romantic week in Italy.
Two days into the holiday, violence broke out between Israel and Lebanon with air strikes and rocket attacks.
Brian was stuck in the midst of the fighting with two Lebanese relations who, if they fled, would have become displaced refugees and could have potentially lost all that they own.
Mr Lalonde, who has lived in Botswana for the last 20 years and has two teenage children, was left with a near impossible task - to rescue his son.
He contacted the British embassy in Florence and the Foreign Office in London.
On Tuesday, he left Florence for Rome. On Wednesday he reached Cyprus, where he stepped onto Type 42 Destroyer HMS York bound for Beirut late on Wednesday night.
From there he was airlifted by an RAF Chinook helicopter to the assault ship HMS Bulwark to guarantee he was on board when the huge ship docked.
On arrival in Lebanon, he sprang ashore to rendezvous with his wife's parents and pick up his precious cargo.
Sitting with his son on his lap in a crowded mess room last night, Mr Lalonde grinned as he thanked the Navy and the Foreign Office for their help.
"Some people have criticised the British authorities for being slow, but the consulate in Florence, the embassy in Rome, the British Embassy in Cyprus - they were all brilliant.
"They saw what has happened and knew exactly what to do. It was an absolutely incredible operation."
Brian, who at eight months was far too young to travel alone, was oblivious to the complex and dramatic journey his father had undertaken on his behalf.
The pair huddled under a blanket and the child played happily as they settled into the 12-hour crossing from Beirut to Limassol in Cyprus.
From there father and son will fly to London to be reunited with Dina, 27, who has been given a temporary visa for the UK and is waiting for them in the capital.
The family will continue on to Bristol, where Mr Lalonde's mother will be waiting before flying back to Botswana where they now live.
By the time they reach their African home, Mr Lalonde will have travelled by taxi, plane, Royal Naval destroyer, RAF helicopter, Royal Naval assault ship and boarded at least two more flights to get his son to where he belongs.
"It is amazing," he said. "I am very happy but pretty tired now."
But he said there were mixed feelings about leaving his wife's family in Lebanon: "It feels a bit funny, to take my son and leave the whole family there.
"They seem very confident that the situation will be ok. It is a funny feeling to leave them all there."
Ironically, Mr Lalonde's mother could have saved him all the trouble - she left Lebanon the day before the bombings.
"It is quite a shame that she wasn't still there, she could have brought Brian back safely."