Major M C C Harrison, DSO, MC, and Captain H A Cartwright, MC
Kingfisher Library, Edward Arnold & Co, 1933. First published 1930.
Hardback; 120 x 180 mm; light blue boards with titles in gold on spine; the front cover has an impressed representation of a kingfisher on a branch and the words “THE KINGFISHER LIBRARY”; xii & 307 pages with 4 pages of advertisements for the Kingfisher Library. Illustrations by H A Cartwright, and a map illustrating Major Harrison’s and Captain Cartwright’s routes when escaping from German prisons.
The book is in fair condition. The binding is sound but the book is cocked. The covers are grubby, particularly the front cover which also has several marks. The spine suffers from sunning and is grubby such that the titles now lack clarity. The endpapers are discoloured. The front paste-down endpaper is inscribed “E H Thomas 1994” in blue ink, and has a small brown stain repeated on the recto of the front free endpaper. There is very minor creasing of a few pages but a significant dog-ear at page 201/202. There are a few very small marks, foxing, and smudges here and there commensurate with the age of the book.
Within Four Walls tells the remarkable story of two British officers and their war effort, capture by the Germans, imprisonment and eventual escape to Holland.
The authors were made to write a concise and accurate account of their incarceration in 1917 and 1918 for the War Office, the basis of which forms the narrative for this book. Although many points were censored while the war was still ongoing, the authors filled in the gaps before the book was published in 1930.
The pair were both stationed in Mons at the outbreak of the war but were both captured and transferred to a PoW camp in Burg, Germany. Almost immediately after arriving the pair were planning their escape, akin to the events seen in The Great Escape. After tailoring and dyeing their own uniforms they simply strolled out of the Burg camp, enjoying nine days of freedom before being recaptured at Rostock, some 300km away. They were then moved to a camp in Torgau but soon after arrival they began plotting their second escape, this time by tunneling out of the camp. Several further escape attempts were made until they managed to escape for good in 1917 after a nine-day walk to Holland.
The book is complete with a selection of original photographs and diagrams drawn by the authors during their years of incarceration. There are probably very few published accounts of escape from PoW camps during World War I. So this riveting account will immediately appeal to anyone interested in this aspect of the war or of the war in general.