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The Undying Flame (Hardback)

Olympians Who Perished in the Second World War

WWII Military

By Nigel McCrery
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 240 black and white
ISBN: 9781526740625
Published: 23rd July 2021

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Over 60,000,000 people died worldwide during the course of the Second World War and, in contrast to those slaughtered in The Great War, it was civilian populations that bore the brunt. They perished in the Holocaust, in internment camps, in bombed towns and cities and as ‘collateral damage’, in war zones, such as the Eastern Front and in Asia.

Among this carnage were hundred of individuals of all nations who had competed in Olympic Games. Imagine the loss of so many of the world’s greatest sportsmen and women of the present era.

The author has painstakingly researched the lives, achievements and circumstances of death of almost five hundred athletes of the period. While many were household names at the time, this exceptional work honours these fallen Olympians and reminds us of the futility and wastefulness of war.

‘The Undying Flame: Olympians Who Perished in the Second World War’ is a full of fascinating characters - men and women who were full of spirit, striving for the heights of human endeavour, often in other fields as well as sport. Yet every tale ends badly. About as poignant reminder of the sheer waste and futility of war as one could imagine.

Read the full review here

WW2 Today

The British rower honoured for crossroads attack, the Polish long-distance champ murdered by the Gestapo and the Dutch gymnasts who perished in Auschwitz: New book remembers Olympian heroes who died in World War Two

Daily Mail 04/08/21

The stories of almost 500 Olympians who were killed during the Second World War have been revealed in a new book.

The Times 04/08/21

About Nigel McCrery

Born in 1953, Nigel McCrery travelled extensively during his childhood as his father was in the RAF. They settled in Nottingham.


He served in the Nottinghamshire Constabulary between 1978 and 1987. He then read History at Trinity College, Cambridge and joined the BBC graduate entry course. He has written or been responsible for a number of highly successful BBC series and films including Silent Witness, New Tricks and All The King’s Men. He has written over a dozen novels. Into Touch - Rugby Players Killed in The Great War, Final Wicket - Cricketers Killed in The Great War , The Coming Storm – Test and First Class Cricketers Killed in World War Two, The Extinguished Flame - Olympians Killed in the Great War and Olympians Who Perished in the Second World War are in print with Pen and Sword Military. Nigel lives in Nottingham.

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