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Vintage Roger - Roger Mortimer

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Vintage Roger - letters from the POW years
Roger Mortimer
UK Publication Date

'I think prison has done me very little harm and some good. I am now far better read, far less smug and conceited, far more tolerant and considerably more capable of looking after myself'

In 1930, twenty-one-year-old Roger Mortimer was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards and spent the next eight years stationed at Chelsea Barracks. He lived a fairly leisurely existence, with his parents' house in Cadogan Square a stone's throw away, and pleasant afternoons were whiled away at the racecourse or a members' club. Admittedly things got a little tricky in Palestine in 1938, when Roger, now a captain, found himself amid the action in the Arab Revolt. The worst, however, was yet to come.

In May 1940, while fighting the Germans with the British Expeditionary Force in the Battle of Belgium, he was knocked unconscious by an exploding shell. When he came round he was less than delighted to find that he was a prisoner of war. Thus began a period of incarceration that would last five long years, and which for Roger there seemed no conceivable end in sight.

Vintage Roger is Roger Mortimer at his witty, irreverent best, exuding the charm and good humour that captured the nation's hearts in Dear Lupin and Dear Lumpy. Steadfastly optimistic and utterly captivating, these letters, written to his good friend Peggy Dunne from May 1940 to late 1944, paint a vivid portrait of life as a POW.

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ROGER MORTIMER was born in 1909 and educated at Eton and RMC Sandhurst. In 1930 he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards and saw action in Palestine eight years later. He fought with the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium in 1940 and was taken as a POW for the remainder of the war. He left the army in 1947 and became, among other things, racing correspondent for the Sunday Times for almost thirty years. He wrote several classic books on racing including The History of the Derby. He met Cynthia Denison-Pender in 1947 and was married the same year. They had two daughters: Jane and Louise, and one son Charles. Roger died in 1991.

CHARLIE MORTIMER was educated at Wellesley House and, reluctantly, Eton. He was, among many other things, in the Coldstream Guards and for over two decades 'consigliere' to flamboyant antiques dealer the late John Hobbs. Currently he works as a director of Jamb Ltd and together with his partner Tim collects contemporary art which they then loan to institutions all over the world. He edited his late father's letters to him in the Sunday Times bestseller Dear Lupin, which was subsequently adapted into a West End play.

Full of [Mortimer's] trademark gallows humour and laconic self-deprecation
Daily Mail

For Dear Lupin fans Vintage Roger provides an interesting prequel that gives fresh insight into the life of one of the twentieth century's most amusing letter writers and top Dads
The Critic

The Oldie

I am in love with Roger Mortimer and his book Vintage Roger. From his descriptions both of pre-war life in the Coldstream Guards, and of the war itself, he brings all the surrounding characters vividly to life. Nor does he ever grumble but manages to be hilariously funny about the most gruesome experiences - particularly in his letters home during five years in a German Prisoner of War camp. Most touching of all is the reciprocal love between him and his son Charlie (Lupin) who edited the book. You will laugh and cry reading Vintage Roger, but you will also relish every word
Jilly Cooper CBE

Keyword Index
World War, 1939-1945 - Prisoners and prisons, British.|World War, 1939-1945 - Prisoners and prisons, German.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages

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