- Biography & Memoir
‘When I began my operational career, I had precisely two hours and ten minutes' worth of experience as pilot in command of a bomber at night’
The product of a lifetime’s reflection, The Last Escaper is Peter Tunstall’s unforgettable memoir of his days in the RAF and as one of the most celebrated of all British POWs. Tunstall was an infamous tormentor of his German captors dubbed the ‘cooler king’ (on account of his long spells in ‘solitary’), but also a highly skilled pilot, loyal friend and trusted colleague.
‘Single-mindedness is often the key to success in most things and, if what I am told is true – that I was to chalk up the all-comers British record number of escape attempts during the next twelve months – I attribute this entirely to that state of mind’
Without false pride or bitterness, Tunstall recounts the high jinks of training to be a pilot, terrifying bombing raids in his Hampden and of elaborate escape attempts at once hilarious and deadly serious – all part of a poignant and human war story superbly told by a natural raconteur.
‘…we had established that one could get away with using German uniform. After that, it became a regular stunt and my own speciality’
The Last Escaper is a charming and hugely informative last testament written by ‘the last man standing’ from the Colditz generation who risked their lives in the Second World War. It will take its place as one of the classic first-hand accounts of that momentous conflict.
'Tunstall portrays a brutal, surreal time with detailed recall and elegant, roguish humor, though he never loses sight of the larger stakes, noting how the Germans "seemed to wallow in the atmosphere of harsh oppression and hopelessness they had created." An engrossing valediction to the tough, imaginative generation forged by the war' Kirkus
'Right up there with Stalag 17 and The Great Escape' The New York Post
'If this escape memoir is franker about the unrelenting prospect of death than any other books written before, it is also leavened by passages of sangfroid, humour and audacity. The author's cartoons depict both the brutality and the absurdity of the camps' The Times
'An extremely fun look at POW with moments of poignancy and very well written memories' The Bookbag
‘An extraordinary memoir’ The Military Historical Society