No Time Off for Good Behaviour


160 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-919431-33-X
DDC 940.54'7243'092





Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein is a professor of History at York University and author
of Pirouette: Pierre Trudeau and Canadian Foreign Policy.


Canadians seem to have an unending appetite for books about the world
wars, and there is a small subset of prisoner-of-war accounts. Royal
Canadian Air Force Wellington bomber pilot H.E. Woolley’s little book
is a worthy addition. Shot down over the Netherlands in late 1941,
Woolley ended up in a stalag for enlisted men enduring almost four years
of captivity. His account of camp life is a good one; he stresses the
boredom of it all, along with the occasional black humor that kept caged
men sane. His story of the “Dear John” letters pows received from
home (courtesy of the International Red Cross), for example, is a
classic; so too is his tale of the pow who tried to devour an entire Red
Cross food parcel in one day to win a bet. His recounting of the last
few weeks of the war, when the Germans marched their prisoners westward,
is much less humorous. Men who had been ground down by years of short
rations somehow had to find the strength to march for days; many could
not. Happily, Woolley did, and his book is a good one.


Woolley, Ted., “No Time Off for Good Behaviour,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024,