‘All Things Bright’ #10 in the Freeman Files Series went ‘LIVE’ this morning.

I’m pleased to report that my wife, Lynne, is almost fully recovered from her operation now. We spent Christmas and New Year alone due to the restrictions that existed at the time.

Another total lockdown followed, and we’re back in survival mode just as we were last March. A vaccine is on the horizon. I’m sure, wherever you are, it can’t come soon enough.

I started research for the next six titles in the Freeman Files Series on New Year’s Day. Work on #11 ‘A Genuine Mistake’ begins on Monday 18th January.

You might stumble across a post containing ‘My 2020 in Books’ online. You will see that I read & reviewed 215 books last year. I’ve decided to curb my enthusiasm in 2021 to concentrate on writing.

I follow a Facebook Page that each day features Births, Marriages, Deaths, & News Headlines for the town in which I’ve lived for 70 years. I spotted a reference recently to a soldier who returned home after being interned in a POW camp in Italy.

Phil Tayler was my uncle (1916-79), and he was taken prisoner late in 1942. The first battle of El Alamein was in July; the second battle, around October time. Uncle Phil talked about the many occasions he went drinking with my father, Vic, (1914-93) whenever he visited our house. There was only one afternoon when he spoke about how he got taken prisoner. I was seventeen at the time.

Uncle Phil was in a convoy of trucks that left camp at dusk. A sergeant drove, and lance/corporal Tayler sat beside him. They had made similar journeys together on many occasions, moving stores and ammunition to various positions along the front line. Tonight, they were ‘Tail-end Charlie’, the last truck in the line.

“Let’s just say those positions were fluid, Ted,” he said.

Around midnight, a sandstorm blew up and the sergeant had a devil of a job tailing the truck in front. They drove for fifteen minutes and as the storm abated, they sighed a huge sigh of relief to see a line of trucks twenty yards ahead.  Several minutes later the trucks ahead came to a halt. Uniformed men surrounded the truck.

“Hände hoch!”

They’d latched on to the end of a German convoy doing the same job, moving stores and ammo from a base camp to forward positions.

Uncle Phil was moved to Italy later that year and spent the rest of the war as a POW. He never spoke about his experiences, and I was never 100% sure that the reality of how he got there was how I’ve described it here. His story makes a good story though, and I retold it to mark the 75th anniversary of his coming home to my Auntie Eileen.  

I’ll be back with an update in February.

Take care, stay safe.

Best wishes

Ted Tayler


Categories: The Long Hard Road