The true, personal and extraordinary first-hand account of an ordinary young soldier who served in the South African Artillery during World War II. Mike Sadler joined the army at the tender age of 17 as a signaller. This is his story, of why and how he joined up, his experiences under training, and his part in the North Africa Campaign. He was stationed in Tobruk when it fell in June 1942 to Rommel’s advance at the end of the Battle of Gazala.
Mike was not yet 20 when he was captured and handed over to the Italian forces. His story then details his adventures as a prisoner of war, first in North Africa, then in Italy and finally in Austria in Stalag 18C before release and freedom finally came. A very exciting but also touching and personal account of his own physical and spiritual journey, as well as a deep insight into the many men and women he met over this historic time.
Mike Sadler (1922–2002) was born in Lourenço Marques (Maputo), Mozambique, to Methodist missionary parents and educated at Kingswood College, in Grahamstown, South Africa. In 1939, aged 17, he volunteered to serve with the South African Artillery as a signaller. He saw action in North Africa, was captured at Tobruk and spent three years as a PoW in Italy and Austria. After the war, he studied at Natal University in Pietermaritzburg, teaching for several years at the Lovedale Mission in Alice. Following the passing of the 1953 Bantu Education Act in South Africa, he joined the British Overseas Civil Service in Northern Rhodesia.
He served as an Education Officer for the ‘bush’ schools and a college lecturer on the Copperbelt ending up as the founding principal of Mufulira Teacher Training College. Following Zambian independence in 1964 and after a short spell at Waterford School in Swaziland, Mike returned to Grahamstown, teaching at Graeme College and Grahamstown Teacher Training College. In l977 he immigrated to England and served as manager of the Missions to Seamen Flying Angel Club, at the National Sea School at Gravesend. On retirement he began writing English Language textbooks aimed at an African audience, together with a series of novels written to appeal to young non-English-speaking readers with limited vocabularies.