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Barbed-Wire Blues (Hardback)

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

WWII Prisoners Of War Memoirs Military

By Bernard Harris
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 8pp B&W plates
ISBN: 9781526783868
Published: 30th November 2020

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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.

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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.

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