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My Underground War: The True Story of a British Prisoner-of-War in Silesia in WWII

My Underground War: The True Story of a British Prisoner-of-War in Silesia in WWII [Kindle Edition]

Albert Edward Clack , Albert John Clack
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

This is a gripping yarn of capture, resistance, and liberation, revealing for the first time how a young soldier in the Royal Engineers and a close-knit group of chums carried on the war despite their imprisonment, and even got away with killing a couple of Nazi guards who had ruthlessly bullied frail prisoners. That young soldier, Albert Edward Clack, was my father.

The first part of this book covers his capture near Dunkirk in 1940 and his nearly five years in the Stalag VIIIB prisoner-of-war camp. For most of this time he endured forced labour and occasional beatings in a coal mine.

The second part relates his escape from the ‘March of Death’, when the Germans forced prisoners-of-war to trudge westwards through snow and ice in January, 1945. After giving his guards the slip, he was assisted out of harm’s way by front-line storm-troopers of the Red Army.

Criss-crossing Poland amidst the chaos of the Soviet advance and the German retreat, he and three other escaped prisoners found refuge with Polish families, until they were put on a train to the Ukrainian port of Odessa, there to board a ship home to England.

When Dad died in 1984, he left me the manuscript of this true story. I have changed some names because, even if they were still alive, it would be extremely difficult to find them 70 years later; and I have improved the literary style for ease of reading; but I have altered none of the substance of the events described. Please note that it is a short book.

I had always felt proud of what Dad did in the War; but it was not until later in life that I truly appreciated how much being able to live a normal family life in freedom afterwards must have meant to him after the long years of fear and uncertainty that he endured as a POW; and it is only through editing this manuscript that I have come to realise quite what a nightmare that experience must have been, despite the optimism which rings through his text.

Albert John Clack - Son & Editor

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1565 KB
  • Print Length: 85 pages
  • Publisher: Albert John Clack (6 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,920 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Albert Edward Clack (1920-1984) was born in Brighton, England. From 1939 to 1945 he served as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers regiment of the British Army. He embarked to France in the British Expeditionary Force in April 1940 and was captured by the German Army at the end of May. He was a prisoner-of-war in Upper Silesia (then in Germany, now in Poland) until January 1945, when he was liberated by the advancing Soviet Army. His true story of this period in his life, "My Underground War", was edited and published posthumously by his son, Albert John Clack.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great account of one man's war 27 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
We forget nowadays how it was to fight in a world war. And how it was if you got captured and had to spend long, long months of frustration and harassment. Well edited and a good read. British schoolchildren (and adults) should know these stories, so that they can make up their own minds about a traumatic period of Britain's history. .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb account 28 Feb 2014
By Monty
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was recommended to read this book and found it marvellous. It’s simply written and purely factual, but what facts! In the mind’s eye it becomes a gripping ‘war film’ and a real page-turner. There are just a couple of the editor’s explanatory comments but otherwise you are not at all aware of his input, which is as it should be. A wonderful and touching tribute to a remarkable man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We might have been there 23 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a thoroughly absorbing, thought-provoking read. I gave it four stars because it's not perfect ... Of COURSE it's not perfect, which is why it's absorbing and thought-provoking: absorbing because it's an unknown tale from a world we thought we knew, but didn't, quite, from someone who lived it, lived it for five years, under unlimited sentence of imprisonment, in conditions of abject slavery. It is absorbing because it is told with an uninflected candour that lends especial immediacy to the story. Things happen here that we know from history, novels and films, but told THIS way they have much greater impact. It is thought-provoking because Sapper Albert Clack survived experiences that, had Hitler's war gone the other way might have become the common lot of most Europeans. We should not have had the luxury of carping about "Brussels", had a stray snide remark about Berlin become a death sentence, as it did for those sucked into the Fuehrer's black hole ... In Clack's case, literally a black hole. Do read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good WW2 account of one PoW 3 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Being an ex-Sapper myself, I found this true story to be quite an insight into what this particular PoW had to go through during WW2. The Corps of Royal Engineers has been formed through many combinations over hundreds of years and as soon as I started reading this account, I immediately thought of the 'Sappers and Miners'. Spr Albert E. Clack was forced to work in the coal mines of present-day Poland to produce fossil fuel for the Nazi regime, but he definitely did his bit to disrupt operations, quite dramatically in some cases. He may not have been part of a main battle group whilst incarcerated, but never gave up the fight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book. 2 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book was just what I wanted as my Father was in these camps and was on the death march. I do think that some photo,s would have enhanced the book as quite a few are in existence I have some myself. Sadly my father died before he could relate his stories to me but over the years he did tell me some bits. He died in 1974 when he was only 60. I have his Stalag 1VB dog tag No 220281.Trooper Eric Reginald Smith Reconnaissance Corps.R.A.C. R.T.C. captured at Machili North Africa in 1941 No 7882241 R.T.C. served 1930 to 1936 then 1939 to 1945. Smudger Smith. My fathe wrote his story down in a book but it was stolen from his works office at the G.P.O. Telephones in the 1960s All the best for now Roger R Smith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Pacey story. 5 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Those of us who did not go through the World wars, or the desperate adventures that men and women were forced to undertake should read this. It is much much more than a son's respectful homage to his father, it's a straightforward unfettered telling of how this young 23 year old sapper spent five years as a POW consistently undermining and sabotaging their captors war effort.
The descriptions of conditions in the Silesian mines where Albert Clack Snr was forced to work are related without sentiment- similar to other accounts of POW life this reader has seen. We witness his capture, distribution from Belgium to Silesia and then are given accounts of how they were treated - badly for the most part - before rounded up for a the dreadful death march of 1945 as the Allies closed in.
I read this one sitting and did not want to put it down. In many ways I wished for more detail but that is not the nature of this kind of writing and, sadly, Albert Jnr could no longer call upon his father's testimony to fill out the story. What he has given us is an unadulterated account of life as effectively a slave in a German mine. It's pacey and loaded with interesting anecdotes about personalities - not all Germans were band, not all Brits were good - and the final few pages are a gripping adventure of daring and danger.
Thoroughly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story of strength and fortitude. 3 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this account totally absorbing and I could not put it down until finished.It made one realise how little we know about individual acts of bravery and courage at a time of war.I felt proud and humbled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truthful read 25 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Very good truthful account without the pain, obviiysky inflicted on the author, being complained about as though it was to be expected - His son must be very proyd
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