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Nicholas Rhea’s diary

Sunday, February 5, 2017

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Doing a bit of research for next Maddleskirk Abbey title

I’m sorry I neglected to make any entries in my diary last year. Other things just got in the way. I strained my back lifting a sofa and it put me out of commission for a while. I’ve had to accept that I’ve got to be more careful now I’m 80. However I’m up and running again.

We hosted Family Christmas this year, our daughters having done it for the past 13 years. When I say ‘we hosted Christmas’, actually said daughters did most of the planning, preparation and cooking. There were 14 of us all told, including my sister, Joan, who has returned to the UK after 19 years living in Ireland. The house was a hive of activity but it was lovely to see the place festooned in Christmas decorations again, especially the traditional tree in the hall. It felt just like the old days. And teenage grandchildren are very useful for moving tables, making up beds and, dare I say it, washing up.

To bring you up to date on the writing front, the bad news is that Robert Hale, my publisher, ceased trading at the end of 2015. This was a sad day as I had been with them for nearly 50 years, but the good news is they have passed their business on to Crowood Press. This publisher is well known for books on crafts and various interests rather than fiction books, so we’ll see how it goes. Funnily enough, Crowood recently published a book by my brother, Charlie Walker, who lives in Dorset. It is a very instructive and well-illustrated book on the art of stickmaking. I don’t think there’ll be any family rivalry there.

Constable on Trial, the book about Police Constable Nick Rhea’s early career is now also available as an ebook and audio download, with a large print version on the way.

I am busy with a new Maddleskirk book but am not sure who might publish it. We’ll just have to cross fingers and wait and see.

In the meantime Rhoda joins me in sending best wishes to all my readers.

Posted by Peter N. Walker @ 10:36 AM GMT [Link]

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rhoda and I are just back from Lichfield where we attended some very moving VJ-Day 70th Anniversary commemoration events. The weekend began with a memorial service in Lichfield Cathedral and an address by Terry Waite, then a dinner at the National Memorial Arboretum. On Sunday we attended a memorial service at the Arboretum followed by a fly-past from a DC-3 Dakota.

We were there especially to remember my Uncle Erno who was a Japanese prisoner of war, captured at the fall of Singapore and sent to Taiwan on one of the atrocious Hell Ships. We met and talked to veteran POWs, and families who had lost loved ones, remembering particularly one wee small boy, proudly wearing his great grandfather’s medals, as he knelt to have his photo taken on an imported section of the infamous Burma railway.

Remembering his grandfather by the Burma railway

These prisoners of war rarely talked about their horrific experiences and, in fact, were ordered not to talk. They became the ‘forgotten army’ and this weekend gave families an opportunity to remember their loved ones and to educate future generations in the hope that these atrocities will never happen again.

The events were organised by COFEPOW (an association for Children and Families of Far East Prisoners of War). COFEPOW has a museum at the Arboretum and members can, by arrangement, search a database for information about individual Far East prisoners of war. The link for this organisation is www.cofepow.org.uk.

This weekend was a very moving occasion for all and many tears were shed as we remembered all those who served in World War II and suffered so much on our behalf.

Tricia Walker with her rather, Nicholas Rhea

To support COFEPOW, I am very proud to tell you that my daughter, Tricia Walker, has published a special charity edition of her book, Benedict's Brother, which tells the moving story of how she came to know of her Great Uncle Erno’s suffering and sacrifice when she visited Thailand. This book is beautifully written and moved me to tears. It can be ordered from Waterstones Do quote ISBN: 9780957217720 or, if you prefer, there is an earlier kindle edition which can be ordered from Amazon.

Posted by Peter N. Walker @ 04:44 PM GMT [Link]

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