Wartime Wanderings, 1939–1945

Loftus Peyton Jones during the war

James Peyton Jones wrote to me last month about a recently published memoir of his father’s military service during the Second World War. First Lieutenant Loftus Peyton Jones was captured at sea and for a time was a prisoner of war.

“He was a POW in Italy, first at Camp 35 in Padula and then at No. 19 in Bologna,” James explained. It was from P.G. 19 that he escaped in September 1943.

“My father wrote this memoir primarily for family members in 1993. After he died in 2000, we received a number of requests for a copy from other friends and people he had known, and thought it might have more general interest and value as a way of honoring those of his generation (both in the services and the Italians who helped them during their escapes). We didn’t have the original files, so I re-created them and added some additional photos and copies of documents I found in my father’s archive in an appendix.”

James published the newly-edited memoir this spring.

Wartime Wanderings is available on Amazon in the United Kingdom (amazon.co.uk) as well as in the United States (amazon.com).

At 338 pages, it is an impressive volume, packed with rich detail.

A description of the book on Amazon reads:

“An extraordinary first-hand account of a young British Naval Officer living through the tumultuous experience of the Second World War.

“As the senior surviving officer, twenty-three-year-old First Lieutenant Loftus Peyton Jones found himself in charge of the mortally damaged destroyer Achates after the bridge was blown up by the Hipper during the battle of the Barents Sea. Under his command, the Achates fought on until she capsized and sank in the Arctic waters. Surviving the ordeal, he volunteered for the submarine service but was still training aboard HMS Sahib when she was depth-charged and sunk during an attack on a convoy. Captured by the Italians, he escaped from Campo No. 19 in Bologna and embarked on a 300 mile trek South, beginning an uncertain and often hazardous journey towards freedom…

“Royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to two charities: The first is the Monte San Martino Trust which awards English-language study bursaries in England to Italians, aged 18 to 25, in recognition of the courage and sacrifice of the Italian country people who rescued thousands of escaping Allied PoWs after the Armistice in 1943. The second is the Russian Arctic Convoy Project which aims to create a multi-site museum around the shores of Loch Ewe dedicated to those who served in the Arctic Convoys.”

Peyton Jones as head of the Trinidad and Tobago Coastguard in 1965

Loftus Peyton Jones invited as a guest and former submariner for a short trip aboard the nuclear sub HMS Trafalgar in 1986

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