98-year-old war veteran from Sudbury releases his second book about his young life
PUBLISHED: 14:20 19 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:20 19 December 2017
He may be 98-years-old but Harry Buckledee can still pen a story.
For he has released his second novel with the bizarre title of “I’ll Tell Yew Sarfin’ Now, But Ut Man’t Goo Na Fudder” which is about his life from the age of four and is full of old Suffolk dialect.
Mr Buckledee, who lives at The Croft, in Sudbury, is very well known in the town and surrounding villages of Boxford, Newton, Groton and Lindsey, where he grew up and the book follows on from his first novel “For You the War Is Over” which he released six years ago.
It gave a harrowing account of survival in the PoW camps. But it also tells the lesser known story of how in the winter of 1945, about 300,000 PoWs were told to gather their belongings and were forced to march hundreds of miles in the ice and snow across Poland, as the desperate last days of war took hold.
It became the subject of a TV documentary, entitled “The Long March to Freedom”, in which Mr Buckledee tells his traumatic first-hand account of life as a PoW on the march.
At the launch of his latest book at his care home there was standing room only for the event which was also attended by his son Stephen, who lives in Sardinia, and the Mayor of Sudbury Sarah Page.
“It went very well,” said Mr Buckledee. “And I could not believe it, it was so good everybody thought and I sold 30 books on the day. It’s really about my life and what things were like in my childhood days throught to the end of the Second World War.
“I was brought up in Lindsey by my grandparents and I can remember when I was very young being taken to a fire in my pushchair to Lodge Farm and can still remember the dead carcasses of pigs.”
Funds raised from the book are being donated to the Alzheimers Society as his wife Linda suffered from the debilitating illness during the final years of her life before she died, aged 89, in August last year.
Sharon Whittaker, the home administrator, said Mr Buckledee has been living at The Croft since March this year, where he moved to from his home in Newton, and lots of his friends attended the launch.
“It was standing room only and everyone was so pleased to see him.”
Harry is a former prisoner of war and re-released an account of his experiences during the Second World War.
He was in the 11th Hussars Regiment during the conflict when he was captured in December 1942 and taken to one of the biggest German POW camps, Stalag 344.
It is widely known that while they were in the camps, the Allied soldiers suffered at the hands of their German guards and were forced to work in coalmines, refinery factories and construction sites.
But what happened during the marches, is not as well documented. Many of Mr Buckledee’s comrades did not make it to the end of the march and liberation, and for those who did survive, the scars will haunt them forever.
In his recollections, he talks of how he became severely sick with malnutrition and dysentery and even remembers eating marigolds from the roadside to stem the hunger.