Love and Life's Adventures

Front Cover
Christopher Portway
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£14.99, US$ 23.99, €21.50
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About The Author

Christopher Portway was born in Halstead, Essex, in 1923. Attempts to educate him were made in a trio of schools after which, he was just old enough to participate in the second half of World War Two to be pitched into the savage fighting in Normandy where subsequently he was taken prisoner. Twice married – consecutively – to two Czech daughters of families who offered succour whilst on the run, and it was during the second of Christopher’s three escape attempts (the third successful) that his second wife, after the war, was to produce a son and daughter. A member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a recipient of a Winston Churchill Award for biography and travel, his subsequent world wanderings provided the narrative for 19 books. Following the death of Anna in 2006 and the loss of his then Brighton home he became homeless for 18 months before becoming, at 85, a very active Chelsea Pensioner.

About The Book

The remarkable autobiography of a Chelsea Pensioner tracing his often horrific experiences during the 1944 savage battle of Normandy, his capture followed by the hideous events he experienced and witnessed in eastern and southern Europe during the last year of World War Two. These included his being condemned to death by the Gestapo after recapture following the first of his three escape attempts, a spell in the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and participation in the notorious 1945 ‘Death March’ as the Russian armies advanced westwards.

Having fallen in love – consecutively – with the daughters of Czech families who, at different times, provided succour during Christopher’s second escape attempt, they were to become his wives – again consecutively – after the end of the war. But this not before the descent of the Cold War Iron Curtain dividing East and West Europe which necessitated him, in 1951, cutting his way through electrified fences between Czechoslovakia and West Germany only to be ambushed inside communist territory and given a 104-year jail sentence of which he served four months before extraction by the British Government.

There followed years of repeated attempts to form trysts and longer periods with Anna – his second wife after the collapse of his first after a year and a half. This resulted in dramatic occurrences throughout the East Bloc countries often resulting in arrest and expulsion before, the Czech communist regime finally expelling Anna herself having tired of Christopher’s efforts to be with her.

They were married in 1956, the union producing a son and a daughter. They lived happily for some 36 years before Anna’s death and loss of his then Brighton home rendering him homeless for 18 months before he found refuge in the Royal Hospital Chelsea.