Steyning War Veteran's Remarkable Journey Told

Liane Watt

Poignant celebration Of Wally Cumberland at Steyning Bookshop

The Steyning Bookshop hosted what must have been one of the more unusual memorial events on Armistice Day - with a book launch.
With other events last Wednesday paid respects to those lost in war, a book launch celebrated one local man who survived, and told his tale for the first time in his 90th year.
Wally Cumberland began collaborating with Steyning-based writer Liane Watt 18 months beforehand for his memoir “We Battled to Survive”. The book describes some remarkable close-shaves in battle, including escaping under fire when already injured in a plaster cast, spared from certain death by a German tank crew, then protected by Belgian nuns before five years as a prisoner in the Stalags across Europe.
Liane described how her book came to be produced, and how Wally had ensured photographs and documents of life as a POW were preserved for posterity. The fact that readers can now see what life was like is all the more remarkable as Wally carried these back through the notorious “Black March” from Poland to Germany as the Second World War came to a conclusion.
“This truly makes this a remarkable document of one man’s story of surviving the war against all privations”, said Liane at the launch.
Unfortunately, Wally passed away early this year before he could see the book published. He was represented by his widow Doreen.
Active in many circles to the end, Wally was fondly recalled by fellow members of the Steyning Snooker, Bowling and Probus clubs - most of whom had little knowledge of his wartime adventures.
“We Battled to Survive” is available from the Steyning Bookshop and the website

Published today - Wally Cumberland's "We Battled to Survice"

Timed for Armistice Day, Wally Cumberland’s personal account of his amazing wartime story is published today.

'We Battled to Survive' - 5000 miles ~ nine lives ~ five years a prisoner - is the memoir written by Liane Watt in collaboration with Wally Cumberland, a former World War Two Prisoner of War.

To buy a copy go to our store page.


Local Press Coverage of 'Paver's' book launch last Thursday

FORMER TEACHER SYD PENS COMEDY NOVEL - 12:00 - 27 June 2008 - A Former teacher at a Tonbridge school has launched his own comedy novel on the lives and characters of rural Kent.Syd Andrew, who was head of engineering at West Kent College, signed copies of his book, Paved With Good Intentions, at an event held at The Chequers Inn, Laddingford, on Thursday last week. Kent & Sussex Courier


Hop Pickers Comedy launched to Cheers at The Chequers

Local author Syd Andrew launched his new book Paved With Good Intentions on Thursday 19 June at The Chequers Inn, Laddingford, vouching that "all the stories in the book really happened".
This didn't deter friends, family, old work colleagues and pub regulars (some of whom feature in the comedy novel).
Syd Andrew, the former head of Engineering at West Kent College in Tonbridge, signed copies at the pub, which also features in fictionalised form in the story about the lives and characters of rural Kent.
"I was inspired by Jeffrey Archer who told me to write about what you know", said Syd, who began his writing career in retirement as therapy after he became a widower. "Every anecdote in the book really happened to people in the area - but I changed the names to protect the guilty."
Landlords Charles and Mandy Lever hosted the event in the historic country pub. Many Kent licensees are under pressure due to the smoking ban but the night was an example of how imaginative uses of the village local can pay off. Indeed the first customer to buy a book on the night were a couple of interested diners who'd come along for the regular Thursday "Sausage Night"!
When not signing copies of the book Syd was, of course, persuaded to enjoy the producr of the local hops long into the night.
Paved With Good Intentions is social comedic novel that chronicles the lives and escapades of four amiable descendants of the hop pickers that settled in this idyllic corner of Kent. It can be ordered online from or at John Adams bookstore in Tonbridge.

See Flickr set here.

Paved with Good Intentions to be launched on 19 June in Kent

Details of the launch of Paved with Good Intentions, by Syd Andrew, will be announced shortly.
In the meantime, Advance copies cam be ordered via this button.

Alternatively, please visit the pavers mini site here.