Percy Carruthers recollections of his experiences during World War II are divided into two sections.
The first covers his eventful operational career as a pilot with No 223 Squadron, part of the Desert Air Force. He flew Blenheims, Bostons and Baltimores in North Africa, and saw action at Tobruk, Mersa Matruh, Benghazi and Alam-El-Halfa until his battle-scarred Baltimore was finally shot down over enemy territory.
Percy, the only survivor of the crash landing, was taken prisoner.
Thus began a new chapter in his wartime experiences...
The hardships, indignities and cruelties he and his fellow ‘kregies’ endured at the hands of their German captors make for harrowing reading. He was imprisoned at Stalag Luft 1 (Barth) and then at Stalag Luft 6 (Hydekrug) – from where he briefly escaped but was recaptured – and endured the further ordeals including a nightmarish Baltic Sea crossing aboard the SS Insterberg and gruelling forced marches during winter conditions as the war drew to a close and the German guards tried to keep their prisoners from being liberated by the advancing allied armies.
But Percy also fondly recalls the camaraderie and defiant sense of humour that enabled the POWs to survive their many ordeals and undermine the authority of their captors and his descriptions of the numerous pranks he and his comrades played on their German guards provide a humorous contrast to the more serious aspects of his recollections.