Escaping Has Ceased to be a Sport: A Soldier’s Memoir of Captivity and Escape in Italy and Germany, Frank Unwin
After being taken prisoner at Tobruk and transported to Italy, the author was determined to escape and learnt Italian by talking to the sentries. His first escape lasted just one week. He then joined a tunnel party and escaped again. After six weeks on the run he was offered shelter in a Tuscan hilltop village, Montebenichi. There he enjoyed five months of freedom, living the lifestyle and ancient customs of these peasant people.
While attempting to re-join the Allied armies, Frank and two fellow POWs were re-captured and sent to a brutal work camp in Germany. His defiant attitude exacerbated an already difficult situation. In March 1945, with the Allies closing in Frank took part in ‘The Long March’, walking for several weeks before being released by American troops. The title of this remarkable and moving memoir results from a notice posted to Frank’s amusement in all POW camps saying ‘Escaping has ceased to be a Sport.’ This is an exceptional Second World War POW account by a man who refused to accept captivity.
Born in Liverpool in July 1920, Frank Unwin joined the Territorial Army, enlisting in the Royal Artillery aged 18. He saw action in North Africa, Greece, Crete before being captured at Tobruk in June 1942. His experiences as a prisoner of war are the subject of this memoir. Tragically his 12-year-old sister was lost at sea as an evacuee child bound for Canada.After the war, Frank worked for the Ordnance Survey. Having tasted other cultures in the war he joined the Foreign Office and, together with his wife Marjorie and to children, served in Cuba, Israel, Laos, Italy, Canada and Nigeria, mostly as a consular officer.Frank has returned year after year to Tuscany and kept up with his wartime friends and their descendants around Montebenichi and the surrounding area. Now widowed, Frank lives in Kent.
- Format: Hardback, e-book
- Pages: 264
- ISBN: 9781526714930
- Publisher: Pen & Sword
- Published: July 2018