The Cooler King
Long before the USA entered the Second World War, William Ash (1918–2014) had left Texas, joined up in Britain and was flying Spitfires with 411 squadron. In 1942 he was shot down over France, captured and incarcerated in Stalag III; he spent the rest of the war trying to escape from various Nazi PoW camps, including Oflag XXIB in Poland. In this book, Bishop explores the PoW experience while telling the exciting and inspirational story of Ash’s determined efforts to break free.
Surviving the Death Railway
A PoW's Memoir and Letters from Home
During his time as a prisoner of the Japanese, Barry Baker corresponded regularly with his wife Phyllis and she in turn kept in touch with the relatives of the 68 men of his unit. These letters, together with a detailed memoir written by Baker in later life, form the basis of this account of the infamous ordeal of the Burma Railway, following events from the Fall of Singapore and incarceration in Changi Jail to the eventual liberation of the survivors.
The Barbed-Wire University
The Real Lives of Allied Prisoners of War in the Second World War
While books about prisoners-of-war usually focus on daring escapes, this one is about the men who not only survived incarceration, but turned the experience to their advantage. It describes how, as well as setting up universities to study subjects ranging from French and German to pig-farming, prisoners kept busy and stayed optimistic through performing as actors or musicians; playing sports; and becoming makeshift doctors, cooks, birdwatchers or gardeners.
Burma Railway Man
Secret Letters from a Japanese POW
Captured after the fall of Singapore in 1942, Charles Steel experienced the horrors of Changi Prison and forced labour on the Burma Railway. This book is an edited collection of the 183 letters he wrote to his wife during the period, which were hidden until liberation. Remaining remarkably upbeat in the face of adversity, the letters report on conditions, his fellow POWs, the Japanese guards and work on the railway.
The Untold Story of World War Two's Most Daring Great Escape
The 'Warburg Wire Job' was an audacious escape plan by 40 British, Australian, New Zealand and South African POWs from Oflag VI-B in Warburg, Germany. With the camp lights fused, the prisoners laid scaling ladders constructed from bed boards over the high perimeter fence and 28 made it across. Mark Felton's history tells the story of the planning and execution of the breakout and the stories of the escapees' attempts to evade recapture and return home.
Reign of Terror
The Budapest Memoirs of Valdemar Langlet 1944–1945
After the Germans ousted Hungary's ruler Admiral Horthy in favour of the fascist Arrow Cross party in 1944, thousands of Hungarian Jews faced murder by anti-Semitic thugs or deportation to the death camps. At great risk to his own life, the Swedish diplomat Valdemar Langlet helped many to escape. Never before translated into English, this memoir by one of the unsung heroes of the Second World War vividly captures the drama and tragedy of this terrifying time.