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Lucky Seven

John H. Wagstaff lived a remarkable life, one that would no longer be possible to live in a changed world. This is his account of his earlier life, including his daring escape with six others in a rowing boat at the fall of Singapore. A man of his times, he displayed the self-effacing attitude so typical of men of his class and education in those days. The family learned of his amazing escape from a telegram which he sent to his cousin Sidney Hogben in Jerusalem (where he was working in the Education Department) as follows:

“…….john captured sheila evacuated january self escaped rowboat going strong wagstaff.”

This was not quite accurate as in fact John’s escape had resulted in his losing over 3 stone in weight!

A student at University College London, in Spring 1933 John H. Wagstaff won a scholarship which consisted of a free return trip to Australia where he worked as an engineer, and stayed and worked on ranches there.

In 1934 he arrived in Papua New Guinea where he spent a year working at a mission as an engineer looking after their boat engines, electric lighting plant, hospital telephone system, sawmill engines etc. He returned to England in 1936 and applied for a job in Malaya, where he worked until the Japanese invasion in 1942. He escaped to Colombo with six others and then on to Durban in South Africa to rejoin his wife and son David, who had been born in Durban, and who he had never met. He and his wife Sheila went on to have a daughter, Diana, who was born in Mombasa. They returned to Malaya after the war, via England.

They lived for two years in Kuala Lumpur and eventually returned to England in 1953. He divorced and remarried and had many happy years with his new family. He died in 1998 aged 87.


Syrup and Cyanide

Working out of the Essex Police Headquarters at Chelmsford, newly promoted DI Dave Calloway finds himself rekindling an old friendship with DS Bob Hand. Together, they investigate recent and cold killings that are mysteriously linked to a brutal robbery at a jeweller’s, 17 years before. The Landlord of The Fallen Oak public house in Whitechapel, East London,
John Garron knows more than he is telling about the dark events of the
past and Calloway knows it.


A Collection of Poems

The poems in this book were written over a period of about 50 years.
They are not in chronological order but in sections under various headings. Some have appeared previously in Poetry Space.



The Cubic Pea

The Cubic Pea is a debut novel about the developing relationships between a group of five friends (Alice, Robert, William, Simon and Jake) as they try to rescue a brewery from a cyber-attack.
It intentionally presents a fictitious, rose-tinted and, at times, humorous view of Asperger’s Syndrome. Bonds are forged as a result of traumatic childhood experiences and a shared love of roast
dinners. Are these bonds strong enough to survive the conflicts which arise between logic and emotion? Can the exceptional skills of
Robert and Jake, both of whom have Asperger’s Syndrome, be released whilst they struggle to cope with the chaos of everyday life? What is the secret William is hiding and will Alice be able to find the answer she craves without addressing her own demons?


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