‘I think prison has done me very little harm and some good. I am now far better read, far less smug and conceited, far more tolerant and considerably more capable of looking after myself’
In 1930, twenty-one-year-old Roger Mortimer was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards and spent the next eight years stationed at Chelsea Barracks. He lived a fairly leisurely existence, with his parents’ house in Cadogan Square a stone’s throw away, and pleasant afternoons were whiled away at the racecourse or a members’ club. Admittedly things got a little tricky in Palestine in 1938, when Roger, now a captain, found himself amid the action in the Arab Revolt. The worst, however, was yet to come.
In May 1940, while fighting the Germans with the British Expeditionary Force in the Battle of Belgium, he was knocked unconscious by an exploding shell. When he came round he was less than delighted to find that he was a prisoner of war. Thus began a period of incarceration that would last five long years, and which for Roger there seemed no conceivable end in sight.
Vintage Roger is Roger Mortimer at his witty, irreverent best, exuding the charm and good humour that captured the nation’s hearts in Dear Lupin and Dear Lumpy. Steadfastly optimistic and utterly captivating, these letters, written to his good friend Peggy Dunne from May 1940 to late 1944, paint a vivid portrait of life as a POW.