Monday, March 13, 2017

WITHIN FOUR WALLS - Major M C C Harrison & Capt. H A Cartwright

In 1914 the two authors were taken prisoner by the Germans and both then spent the next four years making numerous escape attempts, being recaptured many times before finally being successful in 1917 & 1918.

Part of this book is part of an official account they had to provide to the War Office.  The remainder of the book was written by the authors in 1928-29.

The tales of ingenuity used are amazing, as is the courage displayed by these two and others who continually wanted to get "home" with the sole purpose of re-joining their regiments to get back fighting.

One particular frustrating attempt ended when after walking across Germany one of the authors thought he had made it to Holland; he walked into a village very pleased with himself and was promptly arrested, he had made it to Holland but had got confused and walked back in Germany.

Materials for the escaped were manufactured in camps and prisons, sent in relief parcels from wives and families, items were sent in ingenious fashion.

Every time they were caught they were sentenced by criminal courts to terms of imprisonment so they spent years in various forms of detention.

Many of the escape attempts sound like Boys Own Adventures and it is easy to forget the slaughter that was occurring at the time. Prior to his capture one of the authors was with a group of 1000 men on Monday by Tuesday there were only 300 of them still alive, truly unimaginable this type of killing.

This isn't  well written, its tedious in patches but its true and was occurring only 100 years ago.

The book was published in 1930 and the edition I have is a Penguin from 1940.

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