For 92 year old author and WW2 POW, Charles Granquist, his experiences as a POW in Germany provide him with a perspective on our future that is drawn from seeing the horror of war and a true respect for how extremely lucky we are. The need to look to our future and the preservation of our world is steeped in his soul. Until the Little Bird Sings is his first fiction book and deals with climate change and the Australian Dean families fight for survival.
Born in 1922, Granquist grew up in tent in Blaxland in the Blue Mountains. When war broke out in 1939 Granquist increased his age from 17 to 19 and joined the A.I.F. sailing with the 2/4th Battalion on board the Strathnaver to Egypt. He served with his battalion in Bardia, Tobruk, Derna and Benghazi before being wounded in Greece in 1941 and captured by the Germans. Granquist then experienced life as a Prisoner of War and was incarcerated in a number of different European prison camps as he went through an amazing journey of escape, recapture and punishment.
He spent nearly four years as a POW and orchestrated a remarkable five escape attempts. Granquist recalls “the scariest part of this escaping caper was the point of re-capture. Staring down the barrels of a number of rifles and wondering whether some nervous and trigger-happy German might tighten his finger, was to say the very least, discomforting.”
Granquist is one of only several hundred surviving Australian POWS that were held in Europe. At 90 years old he wrote his first book A Long Way Home on his experiences incarcerated at a number of different European prison camps including Markt Pongau, Feldkirvhen, Wolfsdberg and St.Georgen.
After six years serving overseas, Charles returned to the Blue Mountains where his Russian War bride, Ann, later joined him. He now lives in the coastal town of Port Macquarie, New South Wales with his second wife Wendy. After the war and his retirement, he worked for many years as a telephone counsellor for Sydney Mission (now Mission Australia) and a radio operator for Sea Rescue.
Charles Granquist is ‘quick as a whip’ and his approach to life is built on respect and enjoying life. A truly wonderful gentleman.