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London to Paris by Spitfire


The unworldly PG Wodehouse
John Julius Norwich Writer
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There's a very nice story of the Wodehouses in 1940. I mean, they were so completely unworldly. He lived in this mad world of his own in the 1920s and they had no idea what was going on in the great big world outside. They were the only British people in 1940 who remained stayed put on the north coast of Normandy in their little house perfectly happy but not realising the world was disintegrating around them. And they went for their little afternoon walk one afternoon and as Wodehouse described it later, his wife said, 'Don't look now but I think the German army is following us', which it was. And they were interned but in those days the Germans didn't know who PG Wodehouse was. They didn't realise, I mean they had really quite a good prize with him. They thought he was just another dotty old Englishman. So they sent him to a camp in Upper Silesia and he sent his wife a postcard which I've seen saying, 'If this is Upper Silesia, I don't like to think what Lower Silesia is like.'

John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) was an English popular historian, travel writer and television personality. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, at Eton, at the University of Strasbourg and on the lower deck of the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. He then spent twelve years in H.M. Foreign Service, with posts at the Embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. In 1964 he resigned to become a writer. He is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire and, most recently, 'The Popes: A History'. He also wrote on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: PG Wodehouse

Duration: 1 minute, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: 2017

Date story went live: 03 October 2018