Still fresh and vital, Coward's story is undoubtedly much embellished in places, so much so that some commentators have even described it as a ‘novel’, but it remains a terrific read--in every sense of the word.

Review Copyright Tom Tunney 2011. All rights reserved. Not to be re-used without permission.


In 1961 the book the book was adapted for the screen under the same title with Dirk Bogarde in the lead role. Complete with a stage Cockney accent, he does his best, but he's absurdly miscast. Real-life ex-POW Sam Kydd (POW number 13735) or Tommy Trinder would have been much better, if less commercial, bets.

See the Wikipedia entry on Charles Coward which has a photograph of Coward and Dirk Bogarde on the set.--Trinder or Kydd would have been perfect!

However, it is interesting in the light of the above comments on the Other Ranks POWs that whenever the movie plays on British television the TV magazine and newspaper listing invariably summarise the film along the lines of 'A British officer outwits the Germans....' Old preconceptions die hard.

For a very negative view of Charles Coward's claimed exploits at E 715 from two of his fellow POWs, see this page of the National POW Association Newsletter: (2022: dead link)

For a detailed overview of the British POWs at E 715 see this article: (2022 dead link)

This external site has a captioned photograph of Charles Coward and the several other British POWs who testified at Nuremberg in 1947, namely Leonard Dales, Reginald Hartland, Charles Hill, Eric Doyle and Frederick Davison:To see any of these names in my consecutive POW numbers listing, enter the name in the site search box below.



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