About the Book

My father William Marsh was a World War Two soldier whose personal heroic story of survival and escape from prisoner of war camps during the conflict – and of his wartime journey from Dunkirk to Prague – is told in my book The Lucky Shilling. I am his son, Keith Marsh – and I’ve published the story based on recently discovered memoirs of a beloved father who never spoke of his experiences.

A soldier’s true story published as a novel and based on his memoirs written some 40 years ago, The Lucky Shilling is available as an e-book on Amazon Kindle and now as a PRINT book on Amazon.

Buy PRINT book -The Lucky Shilling - on Amazon

Print Book

the e-book

E-Book

Buy Print Book now on AMAZON

Buy E-Book now on AMAZON!


This website reveals chapter excerpts, true facts, documents, family photos, links and background information about William Marsh’s war, his incarceration and liberation.


Who was William Marsh?

William Marsh sitting on a countryside gate in England on his return from the War

William was born in Tilehurst, Reading in 1916, and joined the Royal Berkshire Regiment in 1937. He spent his latter years in Lyme Regis, Dorset and died in 1986.

He was only 19 and a young man when he left home with little idea of how deadly the battles he fought would be and what a historic a role he’d play, along with so many others in the immense struggles that affected the world between 1939 and 1945.

(Image) William Marsh sitting on a countryside gate in England on his return from the War.


Discovering dad’s journal – the story behind the book

Keith Marsh: (author) For a long time I have been fascinated in the ordinary man’s attitude to war and combat. In 2009 I rediscovered the wartime account that my father had written some 40 years earlier about his combat experiences during the Second World War. He had never spoken of them before, or since.

Keith and his dad at the beach

The more I read these journals, the more intrigued I became. It was as if I was discovering a completely different man from the father I had grown up with. Why had he joined the Army in 1937? And where was the mild-mannered, gentle-natured man I loved in this story of bloody hand-to-hand fighting, breathtaking bravery and desperate survival?

Almost without thinking, as my notes and experiences grew, I started the book.

Read more …


Why ‘The Lucky Shilling’?                                       

LuckyShilling_WilliamMarsh and granddaughter

William Marsh's Lucky Shilling discovery

William Marsh’s Lucky Shilling discovery

Image (right) William Marsh as an older man – and a granddad!


Read a sample …

“Although I was starting to pick up more words of German and used them to speak to the guards whenever I could, it didn’t help me this time as they were huddled together and talking in low voices so I couldn’t hear what they were saying. After a moment or so one of the guards left the huddle and came over to stand in front of us. His command of English wasn’t brilliant but we soon got the gist of what he was trying to tell us.
He explained, haltingly, that, as we went further into the town, we might see something that would upset us. He also seemed very nervous and kept glancing back at his colleagues who also looked bloody uncomfortable. He use the words ‘Juden’ and ‘Gestapo’ and, although we weren’t completely sure what he meant, his and the other guards behavior put us all on edge. I couldn’t imagine seeing anything worse than what I had already seen in this bloody war, men blown to pieces, women and children lying dead in the road and my friends killed in front of my eyes.” (William Marsh’s memoir, excerpt: ‘The Lucky Shilling’)

Book now available on AMAZON


Story of ‘The Lucky Shilling’ through its chapters:

1. My early years
2. ‘Bully Beef’ sandwiches
3. ‘Steady boys, steady’
4. ‘Leave him Marsh, that’s an order’
5. Now we were taking casualties
6. Left for dead
7. We didn’t stand a chance
8. Prisoner of war
9. The bitter taste of defeat
10. Into the enemy’s lair
11. Stalag
12. Beyond the wire
13. Solitary
14. Out, in and out again
15. Concentration camp
16. Last days
17. Prague
18. Home


Those who helped ‘The Lucky Shilling’ book happen

Rennie Marsh – my mother who typed out dad’s handwritten journal
Sandy Marsh – for all her patience and proofreading
Sheena Marsh –  for all her help transcribing dad’s original journal onto disc
The Wardrobe – home to the Infantry Regiments of Berkshire and Wiltshire, who supplied invaluable research material and advice
Polish Central Prisoner of War Museum for their enthusiastic support and detailed material
Perrin Publishing – for help and guidance creating the book itself
Anthony Tucker-Jones – without whose initial encouragement the book would never have been written, and for suggesting the title
Anna Trussler (country.setting.co.uk) for her excellent work setting up this website

The Royal British Legion DONATIONS

A minimum of 10% from the sale of this e-book will be donated to the Royal British Legion. For more about their charity, you can visit their website www.britishlegion.org.uk

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