Memories of War, Letters of Hope

Stephen Hewson with his new book Memories of War, Letters of Hope
Stephen Hewson with his new book Memories of War, Letters of Hope

New book demonstrates not even the horrors of war can triumph over the human spirit

A new book charting a young Market Rasen soldier’s struggle for survival against the backdrop of World War Two is proving to be a hit.

Albert Rhoades was well-known in the town, having served three times as the mayor, and many people knew he had been a prisoner of war.

But it was only in his later years he was able to talk about his experiences.

And one of the people he shared those memories with was his grandson Stephen Hewson, who has turned author to publish these recollections of a time scarcely comprehensible today.

“I always knew he had been held captive during the war, but had no idea of exactly what he had experienced,” said Stephen.

“It was incredible spending time with him as he spoke about those terrible times and amazing how he remembered all the dates more than half a century on.”

Together Albert and Stephen wrote down these memories, primarily to have as a record for the family.

Albert spoke about his capture in Africa, the transfer to an Italian camp, the help of an Italian family when Italy capitulated, his recapture by the Germans, time in a Polish mine and the forced march to Germany.

But throughout these three long years , back in Market Rasen, his fiancée was waiting.

And it is the letters she received from Albert during this time that give an added dimension to the story.

“It was wonderful to discover grandma had kept all these letters,” added Stephen.

Albert managed to see the draft manuscript just before he died in June 2007, but it was then put on a back burner.

But now, Stephen has completed the historical research needed, with the help of Albert’s brother, Lewis, and published his grandfather’s memoirs.

“It was an emotional moment seeing it all in print,” said Stephen.

Memories of War, Letters of Hope by Stephen Hewson is on sale now at Something Special in Queen Street, Market Rasen, priced £8.99.