By Norman Fine
Book Review by Norman Fine
Spirit: The Lighter Side of Life In Wartime Britain, Derek French, with watercolor illustrations by Shelagh Armstrong, paperback, 309 pages, $19.95, available at AmazonDerek French, ex-MFH of the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds (ON), was raised during World War II on his family farm just twenty miles south of London in Kent. He emigrated to Canada in the 1950s with his wife, Bobbie, and began foxhunting with Eglinton and Caledon in 1988. He was appointed Master in 2000, and, after a seven-year term, continued to serve the hunt as a road whip and still writes articles for the hunt’s Stirrup Cup magazine, several of which have been republished in Foxhunting Life.
In his recently published, highly readable, and often amusing account of his war years—Spirit: The Lighter Side of Life In Wartime Britain—Derek recounts his boyhood memories as the war unfolded in the skies above the farm and upon the village below. What follows is a brief introduction to Derek, then our review of this wartime memoir as experienced by a normal, active young boy. We recommend this book enthusiastically.