Escaper’s Progress: The Remarkable POW Experiences of a Royal Naval Officer Book Review
Amazon describes the book:
David James was in Motor Gunboats (with Robert Hichens of Gunboat Command.) Captured in February 1943 after abandoning ship as a result of a fierce engagement with three German armed trawlers in the North Sea he was imprisoned in Dulag Marlag.
His first tunnel was discovered before completion. In December 1943 he succeeded in escaping during the weekly bath house visit and was on the run for almost a week disguised as an officer of the Royal Bulgarian Navy. He was captured after several close calls while attempting to board a ship at Lubeck.
In February 1944 he escaped again this time dressed as a Swedish sailor and traveled by train to Bremen, Hamburg, Lubeck, Rostock finishing up in Danzig, all the while searching for a suitable ship. He eventually succeeded in reaching Stockholm after 2½ days in the extreme heat of a ship’s engine room. His superbly written narrative is full of suspense and excitement.
My Own Thoughts On This Book:
Before you read this book take a moment to understand the age and upbringing of its author. Some of the reviews of this book I find quite contemptuous of the war and the horrors these men faced. One review reads
Sorry to say that I did not enjoy this book at all which is surprising as I am really into military history. My uncle Jim bailed out of a Lancaster and escaped. The book is written like a boys own comic book adventure. Good show old boy, what a horrid wheez. Smacking of an upper class, boarding school system might well be realistic. It does not make a good read. Everything made to be so easy, “Gerry” simply stupid corrupt gentlemen. Not murderous Nazis. Very disappointing
What did shine through for me was the industry and comradeship of arranging escapes from the camp. The preparation and acting skills with real life and death consequences comes through from the authors words very convincingly.
A very good read.
About The Author:
David James was born on Christmas day 1919 and was later educated at Eaton and Oxford. At the age of 17 he signed on as an apprentice on the Finnish four masted barque Viking. He later went to observe the Spanish Civil War before joining the Navy at the commencement of hostilities in 1939. He served in motor gunboats before being captured in 1943. Following his escape her returned to Naval service lecturing on escape techniques before serving in the Antarctic. He later became a film advisor for Ealing Studios for the film “Scott Of The Antarctic” He then went on to write the definitive life of Field Marshall Lord Roberts before becoming Conservative MP for Brighton Kemp Town. He later became MP for North Dorset before retiring to his family home at Torosay Castle Isle of Mull.
Escaper’s Progress: The Remarkable POW Experiences of a Royal Naval Officer
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