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An extraordinary and moving tale by an ex-POW and last surviving member of the Gordon Highlanders regiment that was captured by the Japanese in Singapore.

This'll be my next read.
A great sobering read. I was lucky to meet Alistair and to hear him talk about his life; he put his survivial down in part to the good food that his mother cooked for him when he was a child. He also discussed Steven Spielberg wanting to make a film of his life, which he refused.
 

Digimonkey

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Cheers Chris, I'm looking forward to star
For war memoirs of extraordinary individuals - I'd recommend - if you haven't already read it - 'Eastern Approaches' by Sir Fitzroy Maclean. The autobiography covers the first bit of his life - diplomatic service - serving in the newly founded SAS in the desert - Wilfred Thesiger turns up - and then parachuting into Yugoslavia - wearing a kilt! - to help organise Tito's partisans against German occupation. Proper boys own stuff - a master of understatement - 'Another truck full of explosives went up, taking with it all my personal kit. That was another two trucks gone. My equipment was now reduced to an automatic pistol, a prismatic compass and one plated teaspoon. From now onwards I should be travelling light.' - I was lucky enough to have met him a couple of times - I rented a cottage in Strachur that was part of his family estate - his office was quite something - the pictures - that's him with Tito, Stalin, Churchill, Montgomery, F.D.R and on - he was the real deal. A generous hand with a dram as well. It is commonly said he was Fleming's inspiration for James Bond. Also - highly recommended - 'A Writer at War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army' - by Vasily Grossman. He was an eye witness to most of the major engagements of the Second World War involving the Red Army - from Moscow to Stalingrad and Berlin. He was one of the first to report on the liberation of the death camps. He was - initially anyway - a dedicated Communist - and his work was propaganda - but he never lost his eye for the experiences of humans in war. Very moving in places - the utter depravity of Stalingrad and the reaction to liberating Treblinka - the realisation. Not a laugh a minute granted - but well worth reading - I sent a copy to @Barry Giddens recently and he rated it. You don't get a much better recommendation than that - cheers - I.

@Ferry-shave
 
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For war memoirs of extraordinary individuals - I'd recommend - if you haven't already read it - 'Eastern Approaches' by Sir Fitzroy Maclean. The autobiography covers the first bit of his life - diplomatic service - serving in the newly founded SAS in the desert - Wilfred Thesiger turns up - and then parachuting into Yugoslavia - wearing a kilt! - to help organise Tito's partisans against German occupation. Proper boys own stuff - a master of understatement - 'Another truck full of explosives went up, taking with it all my personal kit. That was another two trucks gone. My equipment was now reduced to an automatic pistol, a prismatic compass and one plated teaspoon. From now onwards I should be travelling light.' - I was lucky enough to have met him a couple of times - I rented a cottage in Strachur that was part of his family estate - his office was quite something - the pictures - that's him with Tito, Stalin, Churchill, Montgomery, F.D.R and on - he was the real deal. A generous hand with a dram as well. It is commonly said he was Fleming's inspiration for James Bond. Also - highly recommended - 'A Writer at War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army' - by Vasily Grossman. He was an eye witness to most of the major engagements of the Second World War involving the Red Army - from Moscow to Stalingrad and Berlin. He was one of the first to report on the liberation of the death camps. He was - initially anyway - a dedicated Communist - and his work was propaganda - but he never lost his eye for the experiences of humans in war. Very moving in places - the utter depravity of Stalingrad and the reaction to liberating Treblinka - the realisation. Not a laugh a minute granted - but well worth reading - I sent a copy to @Barry Giddens recently and he rated it. You don't get a much better recommendation than that - cheers - I.

@Ferry-shave
Thanks for the recommendations Iain, much appreciated. I'll look them up and probably proceed to checkout.

If it's good enough for Barry !!!.

Edit : A writer at war ordered, cheers.
 
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Barry Giddens

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For war memoirs of extraordinary individuals - I'd recommend - if you haven't already read it - 'Eastern Approaches' by Sir Fitzroy Maclean. The autobiography covers the first bit of his life - diplomatic service - serving in the newly founded SAS in the desert - Wilfred Thesiger turns up - and then parachuting into Yugoslavia - wearing a kilt! - to help organise Tito's partisans against German occupation. Proper boys own stuff - a master of understatement - 'Another truck full of explosives went up, taking with it all my personal kit. That was another two trucks gone. My equipment was now reduced to an automatic pistol, a prismatic compass and one plated teaspoon. From now onwards I should be travelling light.' - I was lucky enough to have met him a couple of times - I rented a cottage in Strachur that was part of his family estate - his office was quite something - the pictures - that's him with Tito, Stalin, Churchill, Montgomery, F.D.R and on - he was the real deal. A generous hand with a dram as well. It is commonly said he was Fleming's inspiration for James Bond. Also - highly recommended - 'A Writer at War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army' - by Vasily Grossman. He was an eye witness to most of the major engagements of the Second World War involving the Red Army - from Moscow to Stalingrad and Berlin. He was one of the first to report on the liberation of the death camps. He was - initially anyway - a dedicated Communist - and his work was propaganda - but he never lost his eye for the experiences of humans in war. Very moving in places - the utter depravity of Stalingrad and the reaction to liberating Treblinka - the realisation. Not a laugh a minute granted - but well worth reading - I sent a copy to @Barry Giddens recently and he rated it. You don't get a much better recommendation than that - cheers - I.

@Ferry-shave
8870BC8F-3BE8-4EE3-838C-4F911E1D4895.jpeg

I can’t thank Iain enough for sending me this - certainly my book of the year so far. At once brutal and humane. An honest and moving testimony to a terrible time. Grossman was not only in mortal physical danger for much of the time, but he also had to avoid displeasing Stalin and his henchmen. As I mentioned to Iain, it’s the small acts of kindness amidst the horror that stay with me. The section on Treblinka is such a difficult read. But the compelling simplicity of the writing makes the book impossible to put down. Astonishingly good.
 
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View attachment 45687

I can’t thank Iain enough for sending me this - certainly my book of the year so far. At once brutal and humane. An honest and moving testimony to a terrible time. Grossman was not only in mortal physical danger for much of the time, but he also had to avoid displeasing Stalin and his henchmen. As I mentioned to Iain, it’s the small acts of kindness amidst the horror that stay with me. The section on Treblinka is such a difficult read. But the compelling simplicity of the writing makes the book impossible to put down. Astonishingly good.
Thanks for your review,Barry....Astonishingly good sounds good to me, glad I ordered.
 
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877
For war memoirs of extraordinary individuals - I'd recommend - if you haven't already read it - 'Eastern Approaches' by Sir Fitzroy Maclean. The autobiography covers the first bit of his life - diplomatic service - serving in the newly founded SAS in the desert - Wilfred Thesiger turns up - and then parachuting into Yugoslavia - wearing a kilt! - to help organise Tito's partisans against German occupation. Proper boys own stuff - a master of understatement - 'Another truck full of explosives went up, taking with it all my personal kit. That was another two trucks gone. My equipment was now reduced to an automatic pistol, a prismatic compass and one plated teaspoon. From now onwards I should be travelling light.' - I was lucky enough to have met him a couple of times - I rented a cottage in Strachur that was part of his family estate - his office was quite something - the pictures - that's him with Tito, Stalin, Churchill, Montgomery, F.D.R and on - he was the real deal. A generous hand with a dram as well. It is commonly said he was Fleming's inspiration for James Bond. Also - highly recommended - 'A Writer at War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army' - by Vasily Grossman. He was an eye witness to most of the major engagements of the Second World War involving the Red Army - from Moscow to Stalingrad and Berlin. He was one of the first to report on the liberation of the death camps. He was - initially anyway - a dedicated Communist - and his work was propaganda - but he never lost his eye for the experiences of humans in war. Very moving in places - the utter depravity of Stalingrad and the reaction to liberating Treblinka - the realisation. Not a laugh a minute granted - but well worth reading - I sent a copy to @Barry Giddens recently and he rated it. You don't get a much better recommendation than that - cheers - I.

@Ferry-shave
@Digimonkey Hi Mate, thanks for the recommendation; I have not read it yet - I have a copy in the house and its on the must read list before SWMBO bagis it up with other books and drops them off at the local chaity shop!

I remember picking up an old Commando Comic at a church sale of all places about 5 years old; it was about the LRDG and from then I was hooked on WW2 history. I can't imagine what it would have been like to meen the man; to have a drink and conversation with him!

If I may make a recommendation in return - Peter White's With the Jocks: A Soldier's Struggle For Europe 1944-45. Of all the WW2 personal books I have written, this is one of the best, up there with Field Marshall Lord Alanbrooke War Diary. With the Jocks follows the 52 Highland Division from autumn 1944 to the end of the war, as they battle through north west europe from Holland into Germany. Peter White kept a journal; it is a master piece in writing - every page comes alive. For me it was a printed version of the HBO Band of Brothers series.

I read A Writer at War not long after it came out, I must dust that off; I also liked that - the experiences were very powerful, much like Peter Whitee's With the Jocks.

If you get a chance to look at with the Jocks, I would like to know what you thought?

All the best,

Chris
 
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