A children’s book written by a father for his son after he returned from a World War Two prisoner of war camp has finally been published—after 75 years.
‘Now It Can Be Told’ was penned by Arthur Stiby after he was released from a Japanese-run detention center. The Royal Artillery major was captured by Japanese forces after the fall of Singapore in 1942 and endured horrific conditions. To keep his and others’ spirits up, he wrote plays and sketches to be performed as entertainment for fellow PoWs.
Upon his return to Britain, Arthur then wrote the first parts of the children’s book, which features a brave daschund involved in a wartime mission,. A talented writer, he sent his work in easy-to-read weekly installments to his son Robert at boarding school.
Thought to have been lost, the incomplete manuscript was rediscovered while Robert was sorting through old family boxes recently.
Robert said: “My father died long ago, but recently I have had time to sort out a lot of family stuff. There in a dusty old box, I found this tattered, dog-eared copy of the original, but incomplete, manuscript. I was overjoyed. Although I am no longer eight—I am now in my eighties—reading it again was such fun that I decided to publish it.”
He and nephew Jamie Stiby-Harris then set about finishing the book—with Jamie doing the illustrations.
Robert added: “I hope this little book will bring as bring as much enjoyment to others as it did to the grubby little schoolboy for whom it was originally written.”
The book is available for £7 ($9.50), and all proceeds from the sale of the book to go to the Salisbury Hospice.