17 November 2009 22:51 Filed in: Publishing
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 TJWMedia.com