In 1942, Arthur Stiby was a Royal Artillery Major serving his country during World War II when he was captured by Japanese forces. He spent years being held captive as a prisoner of war, and during that time, he penned plays and drew sketches to lift the spirits of his fellow POWs.
It wasn’t until Stiby was released and returned to his native country of England, however, that he wrote what has now become something his family will treasure forever.
Stiby wrote a children’s book for his son Robert that was about a brave dog on a wartime mission. He then sent the manuscript to his son at boarding school, but it somehow never actually reached him.
It wasn’t until a full 75 years later that Robert finally came upon the manuscript and saw it for the first time.
“My father died long ago, but recently I have had time to sort out a lot of family stuff,” Robert said. “There in a dusty old box, I found this tattered, dog-eared copy of the original, but incomplete, manuscript. I was overjoyed. Although I am no longer eight—I am now in my eighties—reading it again was such fun that I decided to publish it.”
Robert was touched to see that there were personal touches his father had put in just for him throughout the entire book! He loved the manuscript so much that he decided to have it published last month, with all proceeds being donated to the Salisbury Hospice.
“A wonderful story… Local man Robert Stiby OBE uncovers the magic of his father’s POW stories written for him as a child,” the hospice tweeted in excitement. “Now Maj Arthur Stiby’s story of ‘The Bravest Little Dog In The War’ can be told and is helping raise funds for our hospice.”
A wonderful story…
Local man Robert Stiby OBE uncovers the magic of his father's POW stories written for him as a child.
Now Maj Arthur Stiby's story of 'The Bravest Little Dog In The War' can be told and is helping raise funds for our hospice.
— Salisbury Hospice (@SalisburySHC) December 16, 2020
The book was such a success that the hospice said it quickly ran out of stock “due to overwhelming demand.” The facility added that interested readers should not despair because more copies will be available soon.
“I hope this little book will bring as bring as much enjoyment to others as it did to the grubby little schoolboy for whom it was originally written,” Robert said.