Bulteel, Christopher, M.C.


Shrewsbury, 1st ed., 2000. X + 228 pp., frontis., + photo-ills., + maps. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. This is the autobiography of a gentle hero who regarded himself as being wholly unsuitable to play the role of the military fighting man. The author was granted a commission in 1941 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards and joined them shortly after the historic battle of El Alamein. Here he found himself fighting with an elite corps who had turned the tide against Rommel's seemingly unstoppable advance through North Africa. It was intended that the author was to be held in reserve during the final assault to capture Tunis, but he had other ideas. After hitching a lift with the padre to move forward with the advance, they blundered into German troops and were captured. The amazing outcome was achieved with the author's skilful use of his logic and language. He convinced his captors that their best move would be to abandon all their British prisoners and allow them to retreat to the allied lines. And so it turned out that the author led a large band of captive soldiers to freedom. The battalion then became embroiled in the invasion of Sicily and Italy. The fighting at Salerno was bitter and he was fortunate to survive unscathed. Haunted by the prospect of an early death, his thoughts became focused on a spiritual journey that led him to a faith that became the cornerstone of his life.

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