On Thursday 5th September, I will be giving a book talk at Waterstone’s in the Brooks Centre, Winchester at 6.30 pm.
The are many connections to Winchester in Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners. The Commanding Officer of the Hampshire battalion went to school there, before he went on to become the President of the Oxford Union and the Deputy Master of the Royal Mint when he was knighted twice.
Several soldiers lived in Winchester in houses that still exist today, including Ranelagh Road, Victoria Road, St Swithun Street, Tower Street, Middlebrook Street and Western Road.
These soldiers all returned to England with the battalion in December 1919, but they left behind a few of their friends, such as Sergeant Bob Lillington, who fell in love with 24 year old Ludmilla Martinova and married her in Omsk on 31 August 1919. Little did he know then that as a result of missing the boat home, he would become one of the last prisoners of war in World War I.
I am looking forward to meeting visitors and signing books at the Churchill War Rooms in London on Friday 23 August.
I will explain the Great Man’s role, as Secretary of State for War and Air, in rescuing the fifteen British soldiers abandoned by the army in Omsk in November 1919. They became the last British prisoners-of-war and were not released by the Bolsheviks to return to England until two years after the Armistice.