Following on from the his first well-received book 'The Kaisers First POWs' Philip Chinnery now turns his attention to the attempts by allied prisoners of war to escape the Kaiser's clutches and return to their homeland. As the war progressed, the treatment of allied prisoners worsened as the blockade of Germany reduced the amount of food and material coming into the country. The majority of the prisoners were too weak or ill-equipped to attempt to escape, but there were others who were determined to pit their wits against their jailers. These included the officers at Holzminden prison, who dug a tunnel allowing twenty-eight of their number to escape; men like Canadian Private Simmons, who escaped and was recaptured twice before his third attempt saw him gain his freedom; men who jumped from moving trains or marched brazenly out of the camp gates disguised as German officers.
Although Holland and Switzerland were neutral countries during the First World War, escaping from their camps, crossing miles of enemy territory and outwitting the sentries guarding the frontiers taxed even the strongest individuals. But many men did make the attempt and more than a few of them were successful. This is their story.
Philip Chinnery is the chairman of the National Ex-Prisoner of War Association and has carried out extensive research into the life of prisoners of the First World War in German hands. A prolific writer, he has published almost 20 books on military and aviation subjects including three on the Korean war for Pen and Sword. He also writes articles for Flypast and Aeroplane Monthly magazines and has recently produced two specials for Key Publishing on the Vietnam and Korean air wars. He is currently working on a second volume on the First World War describing the escapes carried out by desperate and determined prisoners of the Kaiser.