Lammi Publishing, Inc. is pleased to announce that it has acquired the rights to the biography All Soldiers Run Away: Alano’s War, The Story of a British Deserter by Andy Owen.
All Soldiers Run Away: Alano’s War, The Story of a British Deserter is the story of Alan Juniper’s wartime experiences in the North African and Italian Campaigns in the Second World War, as well as a wider look at the taboo subject of desertion both then and today. Alan served with the Eighth Army in North Africa, arriving in Egypt in 1941. His battalion, the Tower Hamlets Rifles found itself in the first battle in which German General Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps engaged with Allied forces in Africa. Alan and his battalion fought and took heavy losses in a series of intense and confusing battles. They fought against an enemy they began to believe was superior, as they lost confidence in their own leadership, and moved mostly back, but occasionally forth, across the unforgiving sands. After having served for over 500 days, when the Eighth Army was at its nadir having been forced back to Alamein, at the same time that a no confidence motion being tabled against the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and plans were being made to evacuate Cairo, Alan deserted. Soon captured, he was thrown in to military prison, surviving the tough regime until given the chance to be released to fight in the Italian Campaign as the war began to turn in the Allies favour. He again became involved in some intense, but little known, battles this time in the hills of central Italy. After witnessing the carnage of the night fighting in the hills surrounding Perugia, he deserted a second time. A broken man in a broken landscape he arrived in a small Umbrian village and was taken in by a people that had only months before been the enemy. He became part of the community in this village, helping the community survive the vicissitudes of post-occupation life, forming relationships that would last the rest of his life, until he was eventually arrested again at the end of the war.
Sixty years later the reasons for Alan’s desertion started to surface. After a series of sessions with a psychologist from the charity Combat Stress Alan was finally diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. One incident in particular seemed to be a key cause of his PTSD – an incident occurring at some point in his time in the desert when, during one of the many heavy bombardments he was exposed to, he became trapped in a bunker with a live unexploded shell blocking the bunker entrance as the ground continued to shake from the continued shelling. It was only when the onset of Alzheimer’s made his condition more acute, after a lifetime of having been affected by the condition undiagnosed, that his family became aware of some of Alan’s experiences and his original desertion. As the Alzheimer’s progressed he became convinced that any new people who came to see him were Royal Military Police officers come to take him away again. As the family discovered new revelations concerning his wartime experiences and treatment, they decided it was time to tell his story. All Soldiers Run Away is the search for Alan’s story in lost battles, missing war diaries and faded memories. Through his story and contrasting desertions from the same war and more recent conflicts the book looks at some of the reasons soldiers desert. It examines why the military and society attaches shame to those who desert, and goes on to explore what duties soldiers have towards each other and the communities from which they come from.
Andy Owen served in the Intelligence Corps of the British Army reaching the rank of Captain. He completed operational tours in Northern Ireland (2003), Iraq (2004 and 2005) and in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2007. All Soldiers Run Away is his third book following the novels; East of Coker (2016) and Invective (2014).
Publication date to be announced.