This is the author's story of his evacuation in 1939 at the age of six, with his brother and sister from Sheffield in the North of England, to the safety of relatives in Cork in Southern Ireland. He should have been in Eire for the duration of the war but was deported back to Britain in 1943. The young Neil continues to get into trouble to the end of the book, VE Night, 1945. Neil was a practising hypnotherapist for much of his working life and on his retirement revisited this period of his childhood seeking answers to memories and flashbacks that had haunted him for more than sixty years. He tells in his preface how this was achieved. The author had an affinity with his Irish hosts and his four-year stay is not without humour, as you would expect but the incidents he recalls include the firing of Cork's largest department store in 1942 and providing intelligence that may have caused the torpedoing of the SS Irish Oak in May 1943 by the German submarine U-607. Recriminations, with Churchill, Roosevelt and Hitler denying involvement in the sinking of a (supposedly) neutral vessel almost brought down de Valera's government. Not yet ten, Neil was interviewed in Dublin and then escorted back to Britain on the Prime Minister's direct order. The story is an emotional one, not least because of the shooting down over occupied France early in 1944 of the boy's hero, Uncle Bill who visited him when he was convalescing on Ireland's West coast after serious illness. You must decide whether this boy was an innocent used by the unscrupulous Republican agent he calls Finnegan, by Sister Ann of "the Mission," Stan of Short's slaughter house, his wily cousin Clare who took his earnings for dresses and his uncle who took it for drink. Or whether he rose to the challenge of being separated from his parents at a very young age in difficult times. It is a one-off story told by a lad growing up too quickly. It is also one with dark undertones. We, the publishers, regard this boy's story as more interesting than J. G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun. Opinion as to its accuracy is diverse. Our own meticulous attempts at verifying all incidents with academics and his family lead us to the conclusion it is 99% plausible. It is certainly a masterpiece in a story told through the eyes of the child as it happened (through hypnotic regression), rather than through the memory of the adult author.
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 19th March 2010
Publisher: RoseTintedSpecs Imprint
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.4 x 13.4 x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.35