Six gripping World War II stories, told by the servicemen and children of war who lived them

Many people who lived through World War II were unable to speak about what they experienced and witnessed, as the trauma was too great, or the memories too painful. But others, often later in their life, like the people featured in Never Forget, have found it cathartic to tell their stories, and preserve them for future generations. 


These extraordinary, intimate true accounts, feature children of war from different corners of the globe, and servicemen recounting their stories from the battlefields of Europe, and in the skies above enemy territory

The massive impact of war on the average citizen is at the heart of Never Forget. Children witness atrocities they should never see. Families are forced to leave their homes forever, or live alongside the enemy on their own land. Children lose fathers and brothers to prisoner-of-war camps. Some are orphaned. Food is scarce and they face crippling hunger. The emotional toll on the servicemen after years of relentless action is hard for them to bear.

These are just some of the compelling and epic stories in Never Forget which I collected over a 10 year period, following extensive interviews, exhaustive research and the use of the subjects’ own wartime diaries, and written memoir.

While the wartime reflections in Never Forget are often painful, the stories are inspirational too. They honour the inner strength, incredible will to survive, and hope these people were able to summons in the face of incredible odds, and their gratitude for the bright future they were able to forge in the post-war years.

Meet The People in Never Forget

It was such a privilege to meet these incredible people, and to be trusted with preserving their often harrowing wartime stories of courage, survival and hope. Many World War II photographs from their private collections also feature in the book.


Bram Uljee

whose privileged life in the Dutch East Indies was lost forever under the Japanese occupation, when his father became a prisoner-of-war on the infamous Pekanbaru Death Railway.

The Węgrzyn family

who were ripped from their happy life in Poland, endured the loss of their parents, and suffered terrible conditions in Siberia and Uzbekistan before finding a safe haven in New Zealand.

Eva Mulken

who witnessed many atrocities under the German occupation of Rotterdam, and found out after the war she had inadvertently delivered messages for the Resistance in the city.

Ronnie Sabin

whose tough wartime childhood in the slums of Newcastle-upon-Tyne led to him becoming part of a destructive street gang. He and his brothers were made wards of the court and sent to Australia as child migrants.

Harry Spencer

a soldier in the 2nd New Zealand Divisional Cavalry who survived relentless action on the battlefields of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, returning home with just one tiny nick to his ear.

Naylor Hillary

who was almost 100 years old before he talked about his wartime service with one of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's top secret RAF squadrons, flying secret agents and supplies behind enemy lines.

Praise for Never Forget

"I devoured it in one sitting. Such a wonderfully written collection of peoples’ experiences. It really got under the skin of each of them."
Tony Wright
Filmmaker and producer
“The stories in Jo’s book (and the lives of her subjects) have amazing plots, dramatic changes of fortune, crisis, conflict and resolution, accompanied by persistent threat – all the elements of great fiction. We meet sharply drawn characters, people like us, doing what they can to survive, with great modesty and great courage. Yet this isn’t fiction. These are real stories – lives documented – of people we might have known, who lived down the street or around the corner, and knew our parents or grandparents."
Ian Latham
Historian of the 2nd NZ Divisional Cavalry an founder of

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