Captured by the Germans in Greece, Granquist was determined to continue carrying the war to his captors “any way I could”. In his memoir, A Long Way Home, he describes his shame at becoming a POW and how he believed he had failed himself, his mates and as a soldier. He orchestrated a remarkable five escape attempts, all of which ended unsuccessfully. Yet Charles refused to give up, determined to fulfil his duty as an Aussie Digger and make his own small contribution to the war effort. His story takes the reader on the rollercoaster of escape, recapture and 196 days of solitary confinement before his eventual return home with his Russian war bride.
Granquist’s account of his wartime experiences adds another important chapter to the story of Australian World War II POWs, while showcasing the spirit, humour, persistence and ingenuity expected of an Aussie Digger. A Long Way Home is tribute to one veteran’s spirit and the mateship he still holds so dear today.
There is one thing that a POW learns very quickly and that is only four things matter for survival. They are food, water, shelter and clothing. The absence of any of those essentials makes life very precarious. Having them all allows you to exist, but there is one other thing that makes such an existence bearable: mateship. It shines like a beacon through the gloom. It provides the strength to battle on and survive till the sun shines again. To all my old mates, most of whom have since left this earth for that big Stalag somewhere – Thank you! I think of you often with reverence.