Wartime heroics of village hunter

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A King’s Sutton author has revealed the wartime heroics of one of the village’s most famous sons in his latest book.

Garry O’Connor gained exclusive access to the diary written in the Second World War on the Italian frontline by landowner John Ewart of Astrop House before his death last year.

In the book entitled The First Household Cavalry 1943-44, in the Shadow of Monte Amaro, Mr Ewart’s wartime account is brought to life alongside those of his regimental comrades as they battled Hitler’s forces in the Apenine Mountains during the momentous struggle for Italy.

Mr O’Connor said: “He was very young at the time and was rather shy about revealing his diaries. His sense of humour comes through and his quality of observation as well as his faith in patriotism and his optimism and strength of character.”

Mr O’Connor says Mr Ewart would have used the tenacity and skill honed during hunting expeditions on his Oxfordshire lands to help him in the warfare.

“Their mettle as officers was tested to the limit,” he said. “It was a muddy, bloody, forgotten, horrible campaign.

“Ewart was a great hunter and all the officers came from hunting backgrounds. These skills were really tested in the role they had in carrying out reconnaissance warfare.”

The book was officially released at Knightsbridge Barracks on April 15 with two regimental veterans in attendance. It will be released on May 1 and is available to pre-order at www.amazon.co.uk.