Home Run: Escape From Nazi Europe
Throughout World War II a total of a quarter of a million Allied soldiers and airmen found themselves cut off, behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Europe. Soldiers were stranded on beaches after the evacuation of Dunkirk and many airmen, shot down by flak or fighters. Separated from their units and the support of comrades, they found themselves alone and on the run. Many were captured and became prisoners of war; between 3,000 and 5,000 evaded capture and made that home run back to Britain. They took refuge in hovels and smart city flats or swam rivers in the dark, walking hundreds of miles or risking exposure by travelling on the railways where Gestapo trawled the corridors looking for runaways. Often there was help from the Resistance, but betrayals were common.
These are the personal stories of the many who succeeded in their battle to get home, no matter what: the privations they suffered, the cold and the hunger… anything was endurable when freedom was their goal and those who made it home could give valuable information on survival to their colleagues. Exciting, devoid of sentimentality, it reads like a novel.