Question Home

Position:Home>History> Do you think it is worth seeing if I can get my grandfather's wartime experi

Question: Do you think it is worth seeing if I can get my grandfather's wartime experiences published!?
Hi! I'd love to get my grandfather's wartime experiences published, but I'm not sure how I'd go about this or even if anybody would be interested! What do you think!?

My grandfather joined up in 1938 before conscription!. He volunteered for the Royal Signals, and as he was an experienced motorcycle racer he became a dispatch rider and was sent to Africa!. His job was to ride between Monty in the North and Commonwealth forces on Southern Africa delivering confidential orders between the two forces!.

At one point he encountered a German rider in the bush travelling in the opposite direction, miles from anywhere!. They quickly dismounted and fired upon each other, but, missing entirely over the long distance, approached each other and shared a cigarette!. They even stopped for a photograph, which I have, and swapped a camera for a spare set of riding goggles!

Grandpa was then drafted into the Kings African Rifles as he had learned Swahili during his time in the Signals!. He was promoted to RSM and sent to Burma, where he was captured by the Japanese!. He escaped from a POW camp with an American pilot and made his way back to Commonwealth lines, before seeing action at Kohima (battle of the tennis court)!.

Upon returning to the UK he was assigned to be part of Heilie Sellasie's personal bodyguard, and I have several letters from the Ethopian Emperor and King George to my grandfather thanking him for his service!. He stayed in contact with Sellasie after the war, and was then asked to return to Africa to help out with the Mau Mau rebellion!. After that he stayed in Africa until the early eighties, where he worked for a short while as a mercenary in the Belgian Congo!.

He returned to England after being diagnosed with a tumor and died in the late 80s at home in Berkshire!.

I have many letters, photos and military paraphenalia from his wartime life!.

Do you think I should try to publsih his full story, or is it a lost cause!? Thanks!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker:
You will have to make it very attractive to an individual, if you are to get it published
It sounds a very interesting story, and is very different, but it isn't really what people, except historians, want to hear!.
Thousands of people got shipped out to foreign coutries during the war, and had many interesting experiences!.
I think you should definitely go for it, but try and think up an interesting format to do it in!.
You want to make the publisher think WOW!
I like this, it is different and people will buy this!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

If you don't write and publish his story yourself, you might consider donating his letters, photos, etc!. to some library or historical archive where scholars will have access to them!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

You should definitely try!. First person accounts are incredibly valuable to historians!. I would suggest speaking with a professor of WW2 history at your local university to proceed!. If you can't get a publisher to publish them, submit them to the BBC's WW2 project!. It's an online collection of stories like that!. Www@QuestionHome@Com

It will depend on his experiences and your writing!. If it is interesting and compelling then it is worth it!.

Before--and as you begin compiling and writing them--I would take some time and read as many memoirs as possible!. You have to become familar with the genre before you start writing in it!.

I suggest Frank McCourt and Maus because those are the first to pop in my head!. Emma Goldburg is another!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

There is nothing more romantic, to me, that a story told by a participant in an international event like ww2!. My advice, struggle to get it published!. But make it a book told by you or a professional writer who gives a point of view in today's moral standards compared to those strong morals which GRANDPARENTS used to have!. They were strong vibrant human beings!.
I can not tell you the mechanics of publishing anything in the US since I live in Central America now, but I tell you it mustn't be a walk in the park!. Find out of publishing houses in your hometown, get the ww2 veterans community involved, but do something!.
Not too long ago I read the memoirs of Lord Moran, Winston Churchill's medical Doctor during the conflict years, you know The battle for England, and it was refreshing to read about the character of these great men!.!.
So go ahead pursue this endeavor!. It'll be something important in your life and will give your grandfather his place in history!.Www@QuestionHome@Com