The purpose of this blog site is to provide updates on the publication of the book that I have been involved in writing since January 2014. The book now entitled 'A Pithead Polar Bear From Brighton to Belsen 1940 to 1946' is an attempt to understand what my late Grandfather, L/Cpl James Kitchener Heath did during the Second World War.

'A Pithead Polar Bear' is the culmination of another internet blog project that I started, entitled 'A Fragmented Military History', the name being an acknowledgement of the limited information that I had to go on and just how much there was to learn. The original site can be accessed from this site and in many ways can be thought of as being complementary to the published book.

James, or Jim, Heath was an ordinary citizen soldier signed up for the duration of the war. His experiences over the six years of the conflict are similar to those of many thousands of infantry men whilst at the same time unique to him.

My sincere hope for this book is that it may in some part inspire like minded people to take up the challenge to explore a similar history for one of their own relatives. My message is that it can be done even seventy plus years after the events described. It is also hugely rewarding.

Somewhere down the line I wrote words to the following effect, 'in my dealings with our veterans it has become clear that it is not our thanks they seek for what they did but our understanding'. That for me is justification enough for such an undertaking as this.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Feedback for 'A Pithead Polar Bear'

'Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on writing the book. I am very pleased for you and I was delighted to read it. It is a great achievement and I'm sure that your grandfather would be very proud of you and that the rest of your family are incredibly proud of you. I think it is a great and very personal book, a real act of affection, and a proper memorial to your grandfather, and also those who served alongside him in both battalions, just ordinary men wrenched from ordinary lives doing their best, no doubt despite being rightly terrified, in extraordinary circumstances.

I am still lost in awe of the sheer magnitude of the task which faced this extraordinary citizen army, all that it took to plan and the sustain the effort through all the years of the war, and the commitment which ultimately saw them victorious.

I have really enjoyed the book, and found a number of things in it relating to 11 RSF which I had not come across before, which was a real delight. Having devoured it first time round, I’ll probably read it again over the Summer and take a little more time to absorb it'.

Charlie Arrand (ex-pupil of Colonel William Douglas 11th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers).

'The book has a arrived and I was quite taken aback. I was expecting a slim xeroxed pamphlet wonkily stapled. Instead this is massive volume of your not inconsiderable talent in writing great prose. It must have taken you ages? Really really impressed Mr Andrews - I look forward to your next volume which I hope will see a wider audience and produced by a mainstream publishing house. You are a talent for writing - go for it!'

John Day.

'The book is excellent. I am about half way through already!'

Dennis Dimond (Secretary of The 49th (West Riding) Division Association.

'Enjoying the book immensely, I've learnt a lot of things about the 59th (Staffordshire) Division that I never knew'.

Ken West (WWII veteran, 11th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers).

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