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Journalist publishes book of father’s prisoner of war memories

A journalist has published his father’s memories of being a prisoner of war in a new book.

Roger Guttridge, who writes for the Bournemouth Echo, has brought out Behind the Wire: Everyday Life as a PoW, which tells the story of his father Tom’s incarceration by the Nazis for five years during the Second World War

Tom was held by the Nazis after being captured on the battlefield at Calais, France, in May 1940 and imprisoned at camps in Poland and Germany.

He almost managed a successful escape in 1944 when he, along with three others, made it onto a Liechtenstein-bound goods train at Munich, only to be recaptured when German soldiers sprayed the wagons with mustard and tear gas. He was finally liberated in May 1945.

Roger Guttridge's father Tom receives a haircut during his army days

Roger Guttridge’s father Tom receives a haircut during his army days

The book, for which Roger wrote the foreword and postscript, also covers Tom’s seven years in the Rifle Brigade in the 1930s.

Said Roger: “My father was always happy to share his memories and I know he would be delighted that they are now in book form.”

He added: “There are some amazing tales, like the PT instructor who scattered drawing pins at the end of a vaulting horse to encourage recruits to try harder.

“After a sack of peas was spilled on the gravel parade ground and hastily shovelled up and served at dinner that evening, my father cheekily complained, ‘There are peas in my gravel, sir’ – for which he was put on a charge.”

The book is available from bookshops, Amazon or directly from Roger by emailing roger.guttridge@btinternet.com.

Roger will be signing copies at Sturminster Newton Museum, in Dorset, on Saturday 23rd September between 10am and 12pm.