Nothing prepares a man for war and Private Charles Waite, of the Queen’s Royal Regiment, was ill-prepared when his convoy took a wrong turning near Abbeville and met 400 German soldiers and half a dozen tanks. He lost his freedom that day in May 1940 and didn’t regain it until April 1945 when he was rescued by Americans near Berlin, having walked 1,600km from East Prussia.
Silent for seventy years, Charles writes about his five lost years: the terrible things he saw and suffered; his forced work in a stone quarry and on farms; his period in solitary confinement for sabotage; and the terrible Long March, or Black March, when 80,000 British POWs were forced to trek through a vicious winter westwards across Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany as the Soviets approached. His story is also about friendship, of physical and mental resilience and of compassion for everyone who suffered.
Released 1 February 2017, new paperback edition of Survivor of the Long March, Five Years as a POW, 1940-1945 (The History Press) with additional chapter ‘In Memoriam’ and photos. These include two memorial plaques to Charles Waite, one on the NEXPOWA gates, the other on the White Oak tree planted at The National Memorial Arboretum. Also one of Dee with Terry Waite, celebrating Charles’s book.
‘Death, not surprisingly, is a constant presence throughout, yet for all that, this is a surprisingly uplifting read. Thanks to the force of Waite’s personality, it hums with life on every page.‘ Daily Mail – Read Full Review
Survivor of the Long March: Five Years as a POW, 1940-1945: Charlie Waite with Dee La Vardera (The History Press) Available on Amazon