By Christopher Miskimon

Trapped in a reserved occupation which prevented him from enlisting, Des Evans abandoned his job and ran off to join the army. A natural soldier, he soon volunteered for the Reconnaissance Corps. He served as a motorcycle Despatch Rider in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. Sent back to England due to a bout of pneumonia, he recovered and volunteered for the airborne forces. Placed in a reserve group, fate decreed Des would land at Arnhem when another man got injured in a football match. Soon he was in the Battles of Arnhem and Oosterbeek. Captured, he was a POW until escaping in April 1945.

Des Evans started writing his memoir in 1984, just after his first visit back to Arnhem since 1944. His recollections of the events as he experienced them extend to tiny details which, while not unusual for veterans, is appreciated in their accounts for the authenticity it lends. In gathering other viewpoints for this work, he communicated with other soldiers, officers including generals, and historians for added details to flesh out his tale. The result is a very engaging and interesting book.

With Recce at Arnhem: The Recollections of Trooper Des Evans–A 1st Airborne Division Veteran (Mike Gallagher, Pen and Sword Books, South Yorkshire UK, 2023, 160 pp., photographs, $29.95, HC)