In this installment of Inside the Book with author John Carr, we talk with John more about some new ground he covers in “Serving with Roger Bushell”:
Q: Can you give us a glimpse at some of the new ground about the Great Escape you uncovered here?
A: First, his sister gave me copies of his war time letters. They are now in the archives of the Imperial War Museum in London. They present a humane side to Bushell, who in other histories about the operation seems like some kind of RAF superman, which I knew was overblown.
Next, my book details his second escape from a German Army Camp in 1941, which had never been told. He and a confederate managed to hide underground in Prague until May 1942. There was a woman who betrayed him as well. The book tells the full story.
Q: In the book, you actually go to the ski sites Roger visited. What did you take away from that experience?
A: Actually, I thought the run was pretty easy. Maybe I also have the skills to fly a Spitfire, like Bushell had. Or not.
This is the first of a number of upcoming blog posts where we go Inside the Book with author John Carr. Here we look at John’s connection to Roger Bushell, the fighter pilot who inspired him to become a soldier himself:
Q: How did you come up with the idea for the book, and when did you realize it would become a book?
A: I actually looked for a copy of his biography in 2002, thinking that some Englishman had written it after the war. I was shocked when I found it did not exist.
Around that time, I’d believed maybe he was good enough for a long article in a history magazine. It was, however, when I went to South Africa and discovered that his mother, father and sister Lis Carter had saved all of his POW letters from WW2 that I thought, ‘Maybe there’s a book here.’ Dorothea Bushell wrote some amazing poems about his life, and there were letters from his POW comrades about him in some scrapbooks. None of it had been read by his family, much less published. There was even a picture of a ship named the ‘Roger Bushell.’ He was some dude.
Q: Roger Bushell means a lot to you personally. What would your readers like to take away from the life and times of Roger Bushell?
A: He was charismatic, talented and had flaws like the rest of us. Also, Bushell grew up in 1930s England and Europe when it was a wonderland. That world is gone. I tried to bring some of that to life in the book.
The Entrance to ‘Harry’ taken in 2004 at SL III, Zagan Poland.
Welcome to the Serving with Roger Bushell blog, about the new book from John Carr. We’ll kick off this blog with a short bio of the author. You can also find this in the About the Author section:
My name is John Carr. I am an attorney and retired US Army reservist from Chicago, Illinois. In 2013, I wrote the book “Serving With Roger Bushell, A Soldier’s Memoir from ‘The Great Escape’ to the Iraq War”. You can purchase it directly on Amazon.com or Apple IBooks.
I felt compelled to research and write about Bushell in 2002, when I discovered no one else had written his biography. Bushell was born in South Africa in 1910, lived most of his life in England and Europe in the 1930s and 40s. He had friends and admirers living across the world. Over the years, I have traveled the world in search of him, piecing together his wonderful life as it happened in Canada, Europe and South Africa. I wrote dispatches of his story while serving as a US Soldier in Iraq. What I found was his wartime experience was both enthralling and terrifying.
Make sure to visit back here frequently to find out more about the book and how John put it all together.