Born in Dallas in 1917, WILLIAM ASH worked his way through school and college during the Great Depression, graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, to the heights of elevator operator, then Hobo.
At the outbreak of war in Europe he rode the rails to Canada and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. A Spitfire pilot, he saw action over England and France. He was shot down near Calais in March 1942 and evaded the German forces for months with help from the French Resistance but was captured and badly beaten by the Gestapo.
Bill was sent to a succession of POW camps in Occupied Europe from which he escaped on a regular basis, becoming one of the greatest escapers of the war. At war's end, he was awarded an MBE for his escaping activities and went on to work for the BBC in India and Britain. He became a writer and a past Chair of the Writers Guild (GB). Married to the academic Ranjana Ash, he lives in London where he stayed after the war.
This account of his wartime adventures became a best-seller in the UK and Tunnel King Ash observed "I've discovered the secret of success - all you have to do is dig a hole and wait seventy years". He celebrated his 95th birthday in November 2012 with the publication of this, the first paperback edition in North America.
Bill's friend and co-author BRENDAN FOLEY grew up in Belfast and now divides his time between London and Los Angeles, with his wife Shelly, also a writer. A former award-winning features journalist, Foley has also written feature films including Johnny Was starring Vinnie Jones and The Riddle starring Derek Jacobi and Vanessa Redgrave. He is now developing a feature film version of Under the Wire.
Recent reviews on amazon.co.uk:
***** Under The Wire By Mike Goldwater.
Under the Wire is a wonderfully moving book. We journey with him through beautiful moments of freedom as he discovers his ability as a flyer, refining his skills in combat as he weaves his Spitfire across the skies, through appalling tortures by the Gestapo, to the terrifying claustrophobia of tunnelling under the wire. Iit is almost impossible to put the book down. I thoroughly recommend it.
***** Excellent Read By Oldbiker.
I've just read "Under The Wire" from cover to cover,the dishes need doing,phone calls should have been made and there's no food in the house. "Unputdownable" might be a horrible word, but it applies to William Ash's superb book.