The Road to En-dor - cover

The Road to En-dor

E H Jones

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496 pages - paperback - 108 x 175 x 28.4 mm

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The Road to En-dor opens at the Yozgad prisoner of war camp in February 1917, when EH Jones receives a postcard from an aunt –
“No news in it, but it suggests a means of passing the evenings. I’m fed up with roulette and cards myself, and I’d like to try it.”

Within two days the prisoners had begun to practise their new pastime – spooking. Their Ouija had been constructed by following the aunt’s instructions but initial séances were unsuccessful.

When EH Jones partnered with CW Hill as fellow-spookers, Ouija messages were received and interest grew throughout the prisoners and the staff of Yozgad camp. Both prisoners hatched a plan to escape by deceiving the camp Commandant, Kiazim Bey.

As the initial plan became complicated and convoluted the Welshman and the Australian decided to feign insanity by following the suggestions of fellow-prisoner Doc O’Farrell. They were sent to a Constantinople asylum for examination and diagnosis, and after months of displaying realistic signs of madness they were repatriated a fortnight before the armistice with Turkey was signed.

EH Jones, 1883-1942, was born at Aberystwyth and educated at Bangor, Llangernyw, Glasgow, Grenoble and Oxford, served in Burma between 1906 and 1915 before enlisting in the Indian Army. After the war he returned to Burma but on retirement he re-joined his family in Bangor. He was interested in peace and in education and spent his remaining years working at the university at Bangor and the college at Harlech, as well as sitting on many public committees.

Neil Gaiman read the book as a school-boy and says it was ‘unforgettable’ – ‘It is a true story, underplayed, a story of heroism, of magic and of madness’. He wrote a film script with Penn Jillette – of Penn & Teller, Tim’s Vermeer fame – but there don’t seem to be any developments although Hilary Bevan Jones was to produce the film, she is EH Jones’s grand-daughter.

But the book has been adapted and screened in Welsh years ago. A drama-documentary, Y Ffordd i En-dor, was broadcast as part of the Almanac series on S4C in the early 1980s. Bryn Fôn and Dafydd Hywel were the principal actors – Wil Aaron was producer and director.