Two And A Half Deserters
About The Author
The Reverend Dr Andrew Sangster has degrees in Law, Theology and History; he is the author of two biographies, two history books, a school text book and two books of humour. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1969, served in parishes here and overseas, became a Headmaster, before returning to work in the Church. While researching for his biography of Field-Marshal Kesselring, he came upon this incredible account of how two English soldiers, one time friends, had deserted and met again in Italy behind enemy lines. There they met a Waffen-SS soldier, still a wanted war criminal, and the circumstances that led to them forming a lifelong friendship.
About The Book
The remarkable true account of two English soldiers and a Waffen-SS soldier who formed a lifelong friendship after deserting their respective units during the military campaign in war-torn Italy. Each of them offers their own viewpoint as to what happened, and why and how they felt.
The two English soldiers, one an officer, the other an NCO had known one another as schoolboys. The one emerged from a working class background of the 1920s and 30s, the other rising from a professional middle-class and Public School milieu. Their backgrounds were very different and it was a single incident that brought them together and made them friends for life, but it was the war and its consequences that eventually levelled the class distinctions, and in some ways reversed their social standing.
The third member, whom they met in Italy, was a dedicated member of the Nazi SS organization, and his own detailed account of his upbringing in Germany explains to a certain extent why he became what he did. Bizarrely, it was his English friends and an Italian soldier who helped to keep him stable.
The third part of the book describes their post-war efforts to return to normality. One Englishman and the German soldier seek redemption through the nature of their life’s work; the third insisting he would be content to remain listed as ‘missing.’
It is an account of how national identity and class form our characters, how individuals react to violence, and how, in each one of us, there is a need to seek personal redemption.