Richard Collingwood-Selby was born in 1933 in Kuling,China, brought up in the U.K. and the U.S.A., educated at Bryanston and Oxford. He then surprised his friends and relations by going off to teach English in Chile for three years. He is still there 55 years later, with a Chilean wife, three children and three grandchildren.
Most of those 55 years have been devoted to education. During 38 of them he headed an independent school that he and his wife founded. At diverse times he founded or co-founded two national associations of schools, chaired the United World Colleges national committee and introduced the English-Speaking Union into Chile. Towards the end of his career he helped to set up another school, as an off-shoot of the original, but this one for children from underprivileged families.
Although semi-retired for ten years, Richard is still an active member of the boards of governors of the two schools mentioned. He is an enthusiastic proponent of education as a developer of human qualities, not only the intellect, and as an eventual corrector of the inequalities of society.
In his spare time Richard enjoys travelling, hiking, swimming, reading and delving into the recent past.
In Time of War shows how a British naval officer, confined during the Second World War as a Prisoner of War in Hong Kong under Japanese occupation, engaged his mind during those three and a half years. There are talks he gave to other POWs, drawings and essays. To provide a context, there are transcripts from his diary for the year immediately leading up to his wounding and imprisonment, some correspondence with family and friends, and official documents relating both to his recall to naval service in 1939 and retiring him from the same in 1945 after he returned home at the end of the Second World War. There are photographs and narratives relating to his previous time as an officer of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service and descriptions from the time of the Japanese occupation of Kiukiang on the Chinese mainland.
“… This set of documents and reflections merges family history and the history of warfare. … The inhumanity of armed conflict breaks many men, but not all of them, and certainly not Harry Collingwood-Selby. ... This is a tale of service, stamina, and survival, with lessons for us all.” – Jay Winter, Yale University.
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