From Dunkirk To Belsen
The Soldier's Own Stories
Date of publication: October 2010
Publisher: JR Books
It was Christmas Day; I was one of hundreds of 16th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry soldiers aboard a troopship. We were all excited not at the thought of festive celebrations but because, that day, we were setting sail and our ultimate destination was the battle field' This is a taster of the extraordinary accounts provided by soldiers of the Durham Light Infantry, painting a vivid picture of the real horror, boredom, hardship, sacrifice, heroism, and comradeship of World War Two. As we follow the Battalion on manoeuvres across the theatres of war, the tales are funny and harrowing by turns.
Whilst on latrine duty with only petrol to stave off the germs, one private accidentally blows up the toilet. In another instant, a private is shot on an Italian hillside, just out of reach of his comrades: You couldn't rely on the Germans, it wouldn't be any good taking a Red Cross flag ' He was unlucky' that meant he would eventually die of shock and blood loss where he fell. And so the remarkable story unfolds, from conscription to demob, following the Battalion through Dunkirk, the desert in North Africa, Sicily and the Italian campaign, the celebrations of D-day and the liberation of Belsen.
This reads like a real-life Spielberg movie. Revealing, educational, down-to-earth and accessible, this very human tale has a wide readership.