Loveable rogue Francis Metcalfe was one of life’s survivors.
An intrepid traveller, a criminal, a dreamer and a hero, Metcalfe certainly lived his live to the full and author Mark Bridgeman has documented many of his adventures in ‘The Nearly Man’’.
And it’s a fascinating read. Metcalfe’s life began in rural Scotland during the reign of Queen Victoria and ended on the west coast of Canada in the 1970s.
In between, Metcalfe had many adventures and the book plots out his journey, which takes the reader from the great estates of Scotland to the battlefields of Flanders and the trenches of the Somme.
Metcalfe was a man who liked the sound of his own voice, but he was a popular man whose tales enthralled all around him.
His connections with the soon to be famous and his brushes with death, were followed by his heroics in the ice fields of Arctic Russia, wasted years in post-war London and a narrow escape from being murdered by Sinn Féin in Ireland.
Metcalfe was sent to prison for fraud and after he came out, he became a fugitive from Scottish law as he engineered a daring escape to France, while the police’s attention was diverted.
After hiding in Paris during the 1920’s, among the Lost Generation of writers, Metcalfe was arrested at gunpoint and thrown into one of France’s most notorious jails.
Bridgeman has taken a lot of his information from a series of lectures Metcalfe made, but the book is also peppered with anecdotes.
One of the best is his story of his flight from justice, his subsequent trial, imprisonment and followed by his release, a second escape from the police, captured again and then setting off for a new life in Canada, only to become embroiled in Communist riots, the hardship of the depression, the infamous Ottawa Trek and the impending war.
The book tells one man’s adventures through some of the last century’s lesser known conflicts and Metcalfe’s encounters with the famous thinkers, writers and soldiers of his time and how his exploits impacted on the people around him.
A fascinating and inspirational book!
Publication date: 17th May 2022
UK Price: £18.99
Format: 156 x 234mm, Paperback
The Nearly Man
By Mark Bridgeman
Published by Whittles Publishing
For more information and to purchase a copy of the book, please visit: www.whittlespublishing.com. You will also find it available at Amazon, Blackwells and Waterstones or your local bookshop.
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.
Images courtesy of Whittles Publishing