Facebook X YouTube Instagram TikTok NetGalley
Google Books previews are unavailable because you have chosen to turn off third party cookies for enhanced content. Visit our cookies page to review your cookie settings.

Barbed-Wire Blues (Hardback)

A Blinded Musician’s Memoir of Wartime Captivity 1940-1943

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Music Military > Memoirs Military > Prisoners of War WWII

By Bernard Harris
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 8pp B&W plates
ISBN: 9781526783868
Published: 26th November 2020


£14.99 was £19.99

You save £5.00 (25%)

You'll be £14.99 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase Barbed-Wire Blues. What's this?
+£4.99 UK Delivery or free UK delivery if order is over £40
(click here for international delivery rates)

Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available - Buy the Hardback and get the eBook for £1.99! Price
Barbed-Wire Blues ePub (12.1 MB) Add to Basket £6.99

As the author, a young Army bandsman lies wounded at the Battle of Corinth, he is shot between the eyes at point blank range. Miraculously he survives but is blinded. In a makeshift hospital a young Greek volunteer saves his life with slices of boiled egg. Captured Allied medics later restore the sight in one eye.

In this moving and entertaining memoir Bernard describes daily life in POW camps in Greece and Germany. He established a theatrical group and an orchestra who perform to fellow POWs and their German guards. A superb raconteur, as well as a gifted musician, the author’s anecdotes are memorably amusing. Bernard was repatriated via Sweden in late 1943.

While blinded in one eye and seriously wounded, the author was told by his New Zealand doctor, fellow POW and musician John Borrie, ‘When nothing else will do, music will always lift one up’. Barbed Wire Blues’ inspirational, ever optimistic tone will surely have the same effect on its readers.

This was such a fascinating book. I very rarely hear points of view from the second World War from people outside of Europe and North America. It was fascinating to hear about insight from someone from New Zealand.

NetGalley, Katie Martin

This book is worth taking the time to read, as it can be considered to be the story of one man’s battle against adversity.

Read the full review here


Well for a start in reviewing this book you have to say Wow, a young man shot between the eyes from point-blank range and he manages to survive is a feat in itself. In essence, this is a story of a young man who is then sent to a prisoner of war camp where he is looked after and goes on to survive through the help of fellow prisoners who are medically trained. He then in a way of giving back starts to set up entertainment for his fellow prisoners, by setting up a choresta and theatrical group. In a book that starts off in a dark way, that could have so easily ended in a sad way, it turns into a very good feel-good story that is quite uplifting. This book also takes you through the daily ‘normal’ day-to-day life of a prison camp which is a good read, and it does differ well from other prisoner of war camp stories. This book looks less at the usual escape attempts but concentrates on lifting people of the camp through entertainment. A thoroughly good book and an excellent read, one I would heartily recommend to other people.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

As featured by

Hereford Times, 4th February 2021

About Bernard Harris

Bernard Harris was born in Herefordshire in 1917. He left school at 14. With a deep love of music, he paid for his own organ lessons, worked as an organist, and joined a Concert Party as a pianist.
Bernard joined the British Army as a bandsman and was posted to Greece. Captured at the Battle of Corinth 1940, blinded and badly wounded, he was a POW until being repatriated in 1943. He was awarded the Military Medal.
Post-war Bernard became a successful composer and musical director. His film credits included, appropriately, Adolph Hitler - My Part in his Downfall and Dad’s Army.
He married Marie in 1940 and they had two daughters. After Marie died unexpectedly in 1974, Bernard re-married. He died in West Clandon, Surrey in 1990.

Other titles in Pen & Sword Military...