My Wasted Years and The Ghosts of Paradis
Arthur Brough was a great Norwich character, a World War II veteran who wrote his memoir My Wasted Years, first published in 1994, about his war years, several of which were spent in German prisoner of war camps. In later years Arthur was often to be found in one or other of the Jarrold cafes and restaurants, charming fellow diners to the extent that they almost inevitably then came to the book department to buy a copy of the book.
Sadly Arthur died a few months ago. His book is still available, of course, but we didn’t realise until recently that there’s a further memento of this big-hearted man in the shape of a French-made documentary film, The Ghosts of Paradis. Paradis is a village in Normandy where, early in World War II during the retreat to Dunkirk, around one hundred men of the Norfolk Regiment were massacred by the SS after they’d surrendered, having run out of ammunition. The film is about how the memory of those events reverberated in the village down the years.
But for the fact of having been captured a few hours previously Arthur would have been involved in the Paradis battle too. He never forgot this and would visit the village every year for the memorial service for the fallen. Here he met the producer of the documentary and, in true Arthur style, captured her attention to the extent that, although the film is nominally about the terrible events in Paradis, it becomes in many ways a film about Arthur, following him back to Norwich and event into the Jarrold store.
We know we’re biased, but it’s a pleasure to have this film of Arthur to sit alongside the memoir he sold with such aplomb.
My Wasted Years
The Ghosts of Paradis