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Once a Hussar: Book summary and reviews of Once a Hussar by Ray Ellis

Once a Hussar

A Memoir of Battle, Capture, and Escape in World War II

by Ray Ellis

Once a Hussar by Ray Ellis X
Once a Hussar by Ray Ellis
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2014
    248 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

Once a Hussar is a vivid account of the wartime experiences of Ray Ellis, a gunner who in later life recorded this well-written, candid, and perceptive memoir of the conflict he knew as a young man seventy years ago.

As an impressionable teenager, filled with national pride, he was eager to join the army and fight for his country. He enlisted in the South Notts Hussars at the beginning of the Second World War and started a journey that would take him through fierce fighting in the Western Desert, the deprivation suffered in an Italian prisoner-of-war camp and a daring escape to join the partisan forces in the Appenines.

His story is an honest and moving memoir that relays graphic eyewitness accounts of the horrors of warfare, but it also reveals the surprising triumphs of the human spirit in times of great hardship. Ellis's self-deprecating humor skillfully counters the harsh realities related in a personal recollection of a war that claimed so many young lives. Featuring twenty-six rare photographs from Ellis's life and experiences, Once a Hussar is a compelling and deftly told account of one soldier's life in the Second World War.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Not a reprint or a lost manuscript but a freshly written, top-notch memoir by a former British artilleryman now in his 90s...Readers will yearn for the sequel, Always a Hussar, not yet published in the United States." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Ray Ellis

Ray Ellis joined the South Notts Hussars in 1939 and served overseas as an artilleryman in Palestine, Egypt and the Western Desert, taking part in the battles fought at Tobruk and Knightsbridge where he was captured. He survived extreme privations as a prisoner of war, escaped and lived for a year on the run in the mountains of central Italy. After the war he became a teacher and, in retirement, wrote this remarkable memoir. He lives in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, England.

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