Bombs and Barbed Wire: One Man’s Great Escape

A gripping true story of love and war constructed from meticulous research, family records and eye-witness accounts.



His hatred of Nazism made him leave his six-month marriage to Miranda on hold. Over Germany his Halifax bomber is shot down by a night fighter: He has ten seconds to act or he will never see her again.

Ambrose Adlam did not even want to go to war. Hitler’s war came looking for him. The war enveloped him, it took over his world; there was no escape. To do nothing was not an option. Ambrose joined RAF ground crew. That was not enough. He volunteered for active service as a Flight Engineer in Halifax bombers. The RAF high command forgot to tell him that his chance of survival was minimal. Ambrose found out the hard way as his bomber plummeted to earth in flames. Parachuting into a duck pond in Nazi Germany, he narrowly escaped death. On the run, he is pursued by German forces. They shot him. He survived.

An odyssey through the monstrous world of Luftwaffe prisoner of war camps brought him to the eastern fringe of the Third Reich. The camp was called Stalag Luft III. Beneath the exterior calm of the camp routine, an ambitious plot was brewing. The prisoners were organising a mass breakout. There were hundreds involved. As a non-officer he would not be one to break free … but there was a lot that he could do to support the Great Escape. This was his war, his mission in life and his purpose. But would he ever see Miranda again?

A gripping true story of love and war constructed from meticulous research, family records and eye-witness accounts.

About the Author

Jeff Steel is a child of World War II. Shocked at the sight of bombed-out London as a child, he has grappled ever since with the simple but profound question ‘what happened’. His deep interest in the war has led to many heart-rending interviews with those who took part. He has undertaken endless reading. He has visited World War II sites from Churchill’s War Rooms in London to Pearl Harbour via Dresden and the Burma Railway. His first book No Heil Hitler as ghost writer, told the compelling story a young boy’s Odyssey through the horrors of Nazi-occupied Poland. It won the Philpott Prize for a (then) unpublished manuscript.

Bombs and Barbed Wire was published by Big Sky Publishing in 2021.


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