The author is well-known for his aviation histories and this book is an interesting departure from his main work, albeit not far from it. As usual, this is a well-researched study of a subject that has received far less than its deserved attention. The two photo-plate sections are well selected – Most Highly Recommended.
NAME: Voices in Flight: Escaping Soldiers and Airmen of World War I FILE: R2571 AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 256 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWI, World War I, World War1, First World War, The Great War, Europe, PoW, prison camps, PoW camps, escapees, tunnels, fences, home run ISBN: 1-47386-322-8 IMAGE: B2571.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/yb6av4wy LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The author is well-known for his aviation histories and this book is an interesting departure from his main work, albeit not far from it. As usual, this is a well-researched study of a subject that has received far less than its deserved attention. The two photo-plate sections are well selected – Most Highly Recommended. Given the extensive coverage by historians and novelists of POWs in WWII, there has been very little coverage of the topic in WWI. This is strange because the stories were every bit as gripping and were the first time that so many prisoners had been held from so many places and seen so many attempting, and often succeeding, in escaping and taking a long and dangerous route home to fight again. The British had established concentration camps in South Africa during the Boer Wars. These camps were usually constructed from scratch specifically for the purpose of holding war prisoners but not only were combatants held. Differentiating between Boer Kommando and Boer civilians could be difficult, but often whole families were swept up and imprisoned in conditions that could be harsh. Before the Boer Wars, wars had been fought, prisoners taken, and many paroled. Conditions could be very harsh but, in most cases, the prisoners were soldiers who had survived the rout that followed many a battle. In hot pursuit, many were simply cut down as they ran or tried to hide. Of those taken prisoners, it was often possible to offer parole and either return home, or live in the enemy civilian community until a peace was agreed. WWI saw a new situation to match the new weapons and forms of conflict that were being pioneered to terrible effect. Much of the land warfare took place around the trenches. Those soldiers who survived the machine guns, but were cut off from their own lines, could surrender and were treated with some consideration. They soon became part of a large and growing prison population. To their numbers were added downed airmen and those who survived sinkings at sea. The scale of the PoW communities was so very much greater than in any previous war. The concept of parole had gone, but the prisoners saw it as their duty to attempt to escape. The result was a host of stories from both sides. The author has achieved balance in reviewing the experiences of POWs from all the combatant nations. He has also reviewed the subject thoroughly, describing the types of camp, the conditions and the experiences of prisoners. An absorbing story.