25 March 2009

New and Forthcoming - 25th March

The new and forthcoming titles this week include School of the Sea - the story of a Merchant Navy sailor, The Russian Patriot - a unique recollection of a Russian soldier who fought with Vlasov's Russian Army of Liberation alongside German forces, and Escape from St. Valery-en-Caux - the escapades of a British Army officer during the Battle of France in 1940 and his subsequent escapes from German and Vichy imprisonment.

School of the Sea
by Stephen Richardson (Whittles Publishing)

Based on his daily diary entries, Stephen Richardson recounts his development as a merchant mariner starting with his apprenticeship from 1937-41 on Elysia, a passenger ship on the India run. For the remainder of the Second World War, he served as an officer on cargo ships, where he experienced episodes such as seeing ships sunk in convoy, hearing bombs drop beside the ship when in port during heavy air raids and the horrific experience of being torpedoed. The extremes of nature - winter storms on the North Atlantic; navigating in convoy through floe ice and avoiding icebergs; fog and the ever-present danger of collision; the extreme heat experienced in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, without air conditioning are all accurately described. He also relates the problems encountered when sailing on worn-out ships that would normally have been scrapped had it not been for the war.

Available from:
Whittles Publishing

The Russian Patriot
-->A Red Army soldier’s service for his Motherland and against Bolshevism
by Sigismund Diczbalis (The History Press)

The only personal memoir of a rank and file Russian-born veteran of the Russian Army of Liberation to be published in English, this looks like an intriguing title.

Sigismund Diczbalis, a committed young communist, was originally a member of the Red Army. Captured and imprisoned by the Germans, he was offered a way out from almost certain death by being ordered to infiltrate an anti-partisan unit. Soon he became an anti-Bolshevik, joining General Vlasov’s Russian Army of Liberation that was devoted to toppling Stalin and restoring social democracy in Russia. The following year Sigismund was re-captured by Soviet spy-hunters, SMERSH, which meant an automatic death sentence but somehow managed to escape.

Sigismund Diczbalis was born in Saratov, Central Russia in 1922. He now lives in Australia.

Update February 2011:
Sadly Sigismund Diczbalis died this month in Brisbane, aged 89.
Source: Nick Holdsworth (Co-Author, The Russian Patriot)

Available from:
The History Press

Escape from St. Valery-en-Caux
The Adventures of Captain Bradford
by Andrew Bradford (The History Press)

The dramatic story of Captain Berenger Colborne Bradford, Adjutant of the 1st Battalion Black Watch, compiled by his son using diaries and letters, coded messages and correspondence between his family and the War Office in their desperate effort to hear news of his safety. This book tells of Captain Bradford's experiences between 1939 and 1941, during which time he was in the thick of the action in France, leading up to the surrender of the Highland Division at Saint Valery-en-Caux in June 1940. While being marched into captivity Capt. Bradford managed to escape once from the Germans and then seven further times from the Vichy French. This account details his journey to safety in Gibraltar, spanning France, Spain and North Africa, including a night crossing of the Pyrenees and an astonishing 700-mile voyage in a 17ft sailing boat.

Available from:
The History Press

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