Fascinating wartime story inspires book

The front cover of Syd's Secret War - Part One.
The front cover of Syd's Secret War - Part One.

He was a prisoner of war who became embroiled in a secret intelligence operation to infiltrate a Nazi German plan.

Now, this real-life story of a Northumberland mineworker’s wartime heroics has been told in a new book.

Poignantly, it was Sydney Ryton’s dying wish to have his Second World War exploits published.

So his son-in-law William Marshall, from Amble, duly obliged, recently unveiling Syd’s Secret War – Part One.

The novel is based on real events; experiences which Syd only opened up about just before his death several years ago.

Part-fact, part-fiction, the book tells the extraordinary story of Syd, who is taken prisoner of war at St Valery and embarks on a gruelling march to Germany to be interned.

Here, he finds himself embroiled in an intelligence operation, set up to infiltrate the Third Reich’s plan to recruit Allied soldiers from similar camps to fight for Germany.

William, 59, who is busy writing the second instalment, said: “Syd lived his life after the war never giving away any details of this experience and died only ever divulging the story to myself shortly before his death.

“As part of his dying wish, he asked me to keep his anonymity, so I have changed his real name to Syd. I promised him before he died that I’d write his story, but as a novel. It is about 90 per cent fact, with some licence to make it flow better.”

The book is on Amazon, as a paperback or for Kindle.