Len Baynes sketched by Francess Richardson

Author of clean non-fiction & fiction books - all available on CD-ROM.

About Len BaynesBook ListComments & CuttingsPrices & Contact Details

Len (Snowy) Baynes, christened Leslie Leonard, has led an adventurous life and there is certainly more than one full length story to tell from it. Born a Londoner early in 1919, joining The Territorials at the age of 19, he was mobilised just before the outbreak of the Second World War, surviving in one piece only to loose a leg in a motor car accident four years later.

As a man who played rugby for Cambridgeshire, this was a double blow because he and his family were builders. He does not claim to be a professional writer (albeit his published work has been praised), and this accounts for the fresh, very honest style of his work.

With his wife Betty, he now lives in Cambridge near his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

An Exalted Commission Leads one as far as Korea, and into evil in high places
An Idyll Too Far Another historical novel ranging back into the last world war
Beyond The Cherry Tree A mini saga of a young man's triumph over misfortune
Bim Joins The Force An account of a young detective's first cases
Kiss The Dealer Where a man takes on the drug pushers that ensnared his son
Opposite The Prince Growing up in Barnet in the '20s
Kept - The Other Side of Tenko A secret diary kept in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp with illustrations by the author
The Fairy Who Couldn't Say 'No' Stories for children of all ages
The Greuzniak File Terrorism leads the detectives to Scotland and realms of royalty
The Ham Sandwich or The Expendable Spy Where an innocent man is suspected
The Mandelbrot Set Visitors from afar have their marks recorded by the world press
The Next to Die Crimes that lead one back into Bolshevik history, and The Great War
The Old Quarry Murder Another crime for BIM & Co to solve through detective work
We Visit New Zealand Account of two month's holiday with many pictures in colour
Young BIM Tongue in cheek account of a bigheaded young man's early years
A Continental Affair Another historical story, with links to the present. Based on the period when c.80,000 Turkish Armenians were massacred by the Turks toward the end of the last century
Len's Anthology of Verse & Anecdotes True tales from a long life
The comments and cuttings below refer to the book 'Kept - The Other Side of Tenko', unless otherwise stated.

'A terrifyingly authentic document that brought back all too vividly ( for me) the miseries of those years of captivity under the Japanese, Len Baynes has added some fine detail to the memorial honouring those who were not so fortunate as we, and did not survive to tell the tale - a tale of suffering, courage and soldierly cunning, in the face of medieval, oriental cruelty' Ronald Searle

'The courage and fortitude of Len Baynes in recording those events was matched only by the extraordinary vividness of his writing, taking the reader right there into those awful places. Only half of those captured survived the hardships and that is why he thought it so important to keep a diary. He tore up each page he wrote, smudging it so that no-one but himself would realise it was anything but toilet paper.
Years later he painstakingly put the pieces together again. A small part of the story was published in newspaper articles but this is the first time the full story has been told.
Inspite of seeing his own men walking and toiling with bones showing through their flesh, he is able to write objectively and holds no rancour for the Japanese. This remarkable quality of the author produces a narrative of serious importance which is probably the most valuable document so far written on the subject.'
The Book Guild

'. . . . What was kept in the process was Len Baynes life, a wad of smudged papers on which he had surreptitiously made the diary entries from which this account was constructed. . . . . But I was not at all disappointed when I started to read. By writing about his experiences in close detail, without melodrama, self-pity, or rancor, Baynes has done more than any number of screen versions . . . . to evoke the actual quality of life in those wretched camps, and even to make some sense of the human aberrations to which he was witness. As one might expect, there are plenty of hair-raising descriptions of the primitive and life-threatening conditions with which the men were constantly faced, but the accent is on the ways in which they kept up their morale, and maintained self-discipline . . . . Despite all this, and although he was not what the English termed 'Jap Happy', Baynes has presented a view of his captors which is both credible and balanced. It goes further than he himself seems to have realized in bridging an enormous and - to anyone with personal experience of the Japanese today - perplexing gap. . . . . Nor does he shrink from reminding us, at one point, of the blackest side of British imperialism: he himself had served in the commandos, and heard stories from them which made him realize that our colonizing troops between the wars were pretty well as bad as the Japs at their worst' Mainichi Daily News (Japan)

'. . so you see how fascinating your book has been, thank you very much for letting me read it. . .' Edward Blishen (referring to Opposite The Prince)

' . . . . This is a clear, unemotional account of unrelenting hardship and death in the jungle told without self pity, and far removed from some of the romanticized Kwai type film and fiction of that period . . .' cutting from The Daily Telegraph

'The amazing adventures of Japanese PoW Len Baynes are to be preserved for future generations. . . . A (Imperial War) Museum spokesman "In the years to come there will be fewer and fewer survivors of Japanese war camps who are left to tell the tale. Mr. Baynes . . . . lived a charmed life among the stench, squalor and violence of the prison camps."' cutting from The Cambridge Evening News

'Former PoW Len (Snowy) Baynes . . . subject of documentary on Sunday (Death Camp Diary. . . . His autobiography, Kept - The Other Side of Tenko, became a bestseller in Cambridge, recording how Mr. Baynes kept a secret record of the horrors of life on the notorious Burmese Railway, written in code on scraps of lavatory paper. . . . . giving a tape of the program to the Imperial War Museum' cutting from The BBC

Each story is available on a single CD-ROM disk.
For shipping to addresses within the UK, the CD-ROMs are 6 each including postage & packing.

If you would like to order a CD-ROM from outside the UK then please contact Len to arrange the price and shipping.

To contact Len, you may email him using baynes@glenoak.org.uk, or telephone 01223 843363 (from within the UK) or +44 1223 843363 (from anywhere else in the world).

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