Lucky Jack (1894 - 2000)

Memoirs of a World War 1 POW

Non-Fiction - Biography
256 Pages
Reviewed on 11/22/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

Sue Bavey is an English Mum of two, living in Massachusetts since 2003 with her husband, kids, a cat named Midnight, a bunny named Nutmeg, and a leopard gecko named Ziggy Stardust

During Covid lockdown she wrote her grandfather, Henry John "Jack" Rogers’ biography: Lucky Jack (1894 – 2000).
She then followed this by collecting her father's poems and memoirs and publishing them in a volume called "Daydreams and Narcoleptic Nightmares".
She also has a number of memoir stories published in various anthologies and is working on her next book, which follows her mother's adventures in Australia in the 1960s.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Lucky Jack (1894 – 2000): Memoirs of a World War 1 POW by S. Bavey is a legacy memoir narrated in the first person by Jack Rogers and collated by his granddaughter, who is the author. Rogers lived until the age of 106 and his story starts at the very beginning of this book with his memory, as a toddler, of making eye contact with Queen Victoria. In between, Rogers relays in exact detail the most poignant moments of his life and some less so, but still notable, as part of the overall arc of one man's journey. These include personal moments such as family weddings, as well as his own, and more universally famed events such as the Easter Rising in Ireland, and both WWI and WWII. In the first war, he was a prisoner of war. He lived through the reigns of six different kings and queens of England with letters to prove they knew he was out there too. Photographs are sprinkled throughout to bring to life what Rogers relays from memory.

There is something about the generation that saw more change than any other in history. Imagine being born when the world was still traveling via horse and buggy, and then raising a pint when watching the first man walk on the moon. It's extraordinary, and memoirs like Lucky Jack are almost like time capsules that share the individual experiences that we may know about collectively but cannot connect to personally. S. Bavey and Jack Rogers, in narrating and collating Rogers' stories, have added an important piece to the reporting of British history and, specifically, to the lending of an authentic voice as a POW for those who never made it home. The writing has the feel of one sitting by the fire while a grandparent retells a slice of their life. It is rough around the edges from a literary perspective but the conversational tone works well. I can see this book being of interest to historians and those who seek out war journals, but the real treasure will be reserved for the generations of Rogers' descendants to come who will have a concrete account of their family history.

M. Carley

After living for 106 years, you'd have a lot of stories. That's the premise for this book, which goes through the life of (Henry) Jack Rogers. Born at the end of the 1800s, he lived through the entirety of the 1900s, and passed away in April 2000, a few weeks after turning 106.

Each chapter in this book has little sections which can be read in a few minutes. I was especially touched by the story of what happened when the prisoners at his POW camp were freed. The horror of the camp itself is acknowledged, but the amazing decision the prisoners made upon leaving was something that was truly uplifting. There's so many other great little stories that I just can't mention them all.

The book is technically written by Jack's granddaughter, but it's from Jack's perspective, and it feels that way. She knew him well, and if someone needed to tell his story, I believe she was a good one to do it. According to the info on Amazon, she had access to all his newspaper articles, and she also found scrapbooks her mother had kept about Jack.

This book is incredibly easy to read. You have five minutes? You have time for an anecdote. It felt like I was sitting down with my grandfather listening to his stories. Not my specific grandfather, mind you, but you know what I mean. It's a conversational kind of writing where you feel like you're sitting with the person telling the story. It's much more personal that way, and I enjoyed that writing style a lot.

Mark Schultz

I really loved this memoir, stories told by Jack of interesting bits of his life. He lived a long time and saw many significant world events.
He is funny and candid, sharing about the people closest to him without dishing a lot of dirt. I appreciate that.
His imprisonment by the Germans during WW1 was very hard and he glossed over the worst parts.
Thank you, Sue, for giving a voice to your amazing grandfather!


What a delightful character Jack was. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his personal anecdotes about his long and varied life. Spanning a complete century and experiencing two world wars as an adult, this book is both a remarkable collection of memoirs and a valuable historical document. Jack's world was as one of the people, and this is real history as it was lived. However, what makes it even more special was his charming, cheerful and positive personality. His experiences during WW1 were horrific enough to have scarred him for life, but Jack rose above the deprivation and harshness of a POW's existence and focused on keeping his fellow prisoners' spirits high, a talent he continued to use for the rest of his very long life. Lovely. I'm so glad I've read this. I feel as if I've been sitting with him enjoying his tales first hand.

Elizabeth Moore Kraus

A Worthy Anecdotal Read
With Bavey’s access to her grandfather’s letters, columns, and such, she elected to write from the first-person POV of her grandfather, Lucky Jack. As a result, Bavey has kept the content true to Jack’s voice. By doing so, this is a collection of anecdotal pieces rather than Bavey trying to backfill with her own mix of words. Wisely, the author allows Lucky Jack to tell his stories, each filled with their own level of richness, ranging from touching, funny, deeply moving, and historical.

K.R.R. Lockhaven

I want to be like Jack!
This was such a gem of a book. I expected that it would be an extremely interesting window into the past, which it definitely was, but I didn't expect that I would get such a profound lesson about living life with gratitude and joy. Lucky Jack has this ability to find the good in any situation, even as a POW in WW1! I was repeatedly blown away by his positivity and willingness to brighten the lives of those around him. Sue Bavey does a fantastic job of weaving all of his stories into a coherent, fun-to-read narrative. This book may inspire you to try and emulate Jack and the way he lived his life. I know it did for me!

Janice Leilani

A lucky and remarkable life!
Lucky Jack Rogers touched many lives through the decades he lived. In this short biography experiences that were ordinary and common at the time give readers an interesting perspective on history and culture.

We also get to know a fun, personable man who made the people around him happy.

Jan Butterfield

Wonderful glimpse into the past
This is a well curated book telling anecdotes from a very long life. I’m struck by how much more independent and useful children were expected to be in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Jack, the hero of the story, had a remarkable memory, a zest for life, a super sense of humor and reading about his long life has been a true pleasure and certainly educational. There was life before Cell Phones when people were patient and resourceful. Good to be reminded.

Scott C Appleton

Lucky Jack is phenomenal - a must read!
I have truly enjoyed reading ‘Lucky Jack’ and have found it a most entertaining and interesting story. Jack’s life was filled with so many ‘once in a lifetime experiences’ including fortune opportunities and others more challenging such as his experiences in WW1. Through it all Jack remained positive and resilient. Not only is ‘Lucky Jack’ inspiring but I learned quite a bit as well. Lots of interesting historical tid bits!

A. L. Hewitt

Fascinating and accessible. I bought this book for my Dad for Christmas. As a former history teacher he has really enjoyed reading Jack’s stories, and particularly liked the ease with which he could pick up and read a couple of stories at a time. Lucky Jack is an entertaining and authentic look into the past!

Sara Keating-Ross

Wonderful memoir!
Wonderfully written anecdotes! Very entertaining, full of details and emotion. Being that it was written in the first-person, the book brings on a certain authenticity. Thank you, Sue, for bringing us into your family and letting us get to know the world of your grandfather.

Anne Buckley

Lucky Jack is a perfect blend of history and humor. Real life tales of life in the early 1900s from first hand experience. The stories will make you smile, laugh out loud, and will pull at the heart strings. Highly recommend.

Avid Reader

The author's collection of short vignettes about the highlights of her grandfather's life, was an interesting portrait of a charming and talented character. I enjoyed the background facts of his life in England and his war stories. His thirst for adventure kept me reading. I don't usually read biographies, but I'm glad to have ventured out of my safe space to get to know Jack!

Kendel Quinn

Great read!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as did my mom! You won’t regret reading this book, so many of the stories kept me holding my breath! Lucky Jack sure was lucky!

Cristina B.

"Lucky Jack (1894-2000): Memoirs of a World War 1 POW" by S. Bavey offers a remarkable and deeply personal account of a man's harrowing experiences as a prisoner of war during World War I. The book presents a unique blend of historical insight and personal narrative, giving readers a vivid window into the life and challenges faced by soldiers during this tumultuous period.

Bavey's meticulous research is evident in the rich historical context provided, painting a vivid picture of the wartime era. Through the eyes of "Lucky Jack," readers gain a firsthand understanding of the physical and emotional trials endured by prisoners of war. The narrative is both immersive and engaging, effectively conveying the sense of camaraderie, despair, and resilience that characterized the lives of these soldiers.
What sets this memoir apart is its humanizing portrayal of "Lucky Jack." His struggles, triumphs, fears, and hopes are rendered in a relatable and compassionate manner, allowing readers to connect with his journey on a profound level. Bavey's writing style is fluid and accessible, making the historical details accessible to a wide range of readers.

"Lucky Jack" is a poignant and important reminder of the sacrifices made by those who lived through the horrors of World War I. The author's skillful blending of historical accuracy and personal storytelling results in a memoir that educates, moves, and honors the memory of those who endured the unimaginable. This book serves as a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and a testament to the power of storytelling to preserve the past for future generations.

Bobbie R.

An eventful life!
This biography spanned 106 years, from Henry John Rogers’ birth in 1894 to his death in 2000. The book is based on stories that John (nicknamed Jack) shared concerning both historical events and family happenings throughout his long life. I was particularly interested in his perilous experiences during World War I, and I longed for more information about these events. Overall, Jack’s story provided a window into life in England during the early part of the 20th century, and I appreciated his endless optimism, despite the trauma and obstacles that he endured.

Witty & Sarcastic Bookclub

Lucky Jack is the memoir (dictated by Jack to a reporter) of Henry "Jack" Rodgers. This little book spans a remarkably large span of time because Jack lived to be over 100 years old! And by lived, I mean he really lived. He didn't just exist. Jack had a zest for life that comes through the pages loud and clear, making this book a captivating and often rollicking taste of history from a new perspective.

As an American, the majority of my knowledge of British history is confined to the "big" names and events. Lucky Jack makes things much more personal and, in that respect, more familiar. There were a few things here and there that my tragically American sensibilities didn't quite understand (beef drippings, for example) but I was able to easily infer.

The book included small anecdotes about Jack's life. The chapters were short and would work very well as a history curriculum supplement (homeschool mom here). While the entire book was interesting, the parts involving Jack's experiences in World War I were extremely powerful. It can be easy, I think, to relegate things to history books, making them seem a little removed. Lucky Jack gets rid of that invisible barrier, making historical events less separate from the day-to-day grind.

The way the book is organized by author Sue Bavey makes for a quick yet engaging read. It's told in the first person and feels like nothing so much as a good conversation with a friend. My oldest son said, "Jack came across as a kind, somewhat goofy person who was probably a joy to be around in his lifetime". I think that Jack was one of those delightful people who share their "luck" with everyone they meet. The reader is definitely lucky to be able to peer into the life of a remarkable man who truly lived.

Teachers and parents: make sure to read Lucky Jack with your older elementary and up children. Everyone else: read this for an enjoyable trip through someone's life.

Mary N.

This was a fun book to read and I enjoyed the conversational story style.

Loved the anecdotes and I will look at fish and chips with fondness next time I order.

Getting a look into the past is always eye opening and this book drew me in like a great story will.

Deacon Tom

It was truly a terrific book! In fact I was very honored, in many ways, to journey along with Jack Rogers in his exceptionally space long and fruitful life.

I loved how the book was written in small chunks, it made me stop and think about each section individually.

Because it was in small chunks it was rather easy to read, and very easy to follow.

I highly recommend this book, for no other reason to honor the man’s life.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

Ronald Mackay

Lucky Jack’s reminiscences of a life linking three centuries are uplifting.
Lucky Jack is made up of an engaging and insightful set of personal stories of a man who lived at ease with the world and himself until he was 105. These personal anecdotes were written by an Englishman about his England at a time when the English were rightly proud and appreciative of their country, before cynicism, mistrust, envy, and resentment became fashionable.

You will be left, as I was, with admiration for a simple man who loved his family, his work, and his pastimes; a man who lived the entirety of his long and eventful life to the full, with humour, endurance, fulfillment, and contentedness.

Congratulations to Sue Bavey for making such a delightful selection of stories from her grandfather’s reminiscences of what England meant to him with all its ups and downs, its joys and its sorrows from the Victorian age to the world we know today.


Fun read.
Lucky Jack..the title is very appropriate as he was a lucky man indeed. The book tells the story of his life in a quick a funny way from his perspective. Almost like the British version of Forrest Gump but these events actually happened to good old Lucky Jack. A very brisk, fun read that while it did have historical facts in it..the book wasn't bogged down and didn't become overly serious in discussing them as they pertained to Jack.

Mostly fantasy

Lucky Jack is a memoir spanning three centuries and provides a ground-level view of some events you may have read about, but the personal experiences described here bring history to life in a way I’ve seldom read.

This memoir takes an unusual form due to the unique circumstances in which it was produced. Jack Rogers was born in 1894 and died in 2000. In his last years, in between receiving letters from Queen Elizabeth II congratulating him on his long and rich life, he sat down with a journalist and told stories of his life, which his granddaughter, Sue Bavey, used to write this one-of-a-kind book.

Though it does not have the traditional narrative form of most memoirs, its strength lies in the accretion of little details that paint a fascinating, granular picture of life in 20th century London, and on the battlefields of World War I, where Jack served. I made scores of highlights as I read of many of the telling moments of this incredible life.

Readers are treated to innumerable anecdotes about life in the early 20th century, many of them funny and some quite sad, but all related with a kind of joie de vivre that renders them poignant. We get to see the progress of technology firsthand, including the London Underground, the radio, the automobile, and the television, among others, and it is delightful to read how they were first experienced. We live the horrors and surprising moments of levity of the soldiers in the trenches and prisoner camps of World War I firsthand. We read of love, marriage, tragedy, and joy in equal measure in a life spanning more than a hundred years.

Looking back, the parts that moved me the most were the stories from Jack’s childhood and those from the war. I’m going to share a few quotes from those parts, to give you a feel for the writing and the story.

He says how his father kept him from eating the beef drippings given away to the poor on the way home: “He told us that it was collected from melting down all of the bodies of people who had died in the hospital!”

He tells of the outbreak of World War I, and how most of his friends enlisted. “The date was August 4th, 1914…As soon as we got back from Brighton, most of the cycling club signed up to fight. Out of twenty cycling club members, I only ever saw three again. The others were all victims of the Great War.”

The depictions of scenes from the battlefield are particularly moving:

“It was terrifying approaching the front with all the flashes from explosions making the sky light up. Then there was the overpowering noise…”

“For dessert we would have plum jam and margarine and nothing else for three years. I was so sick of it I swore I would never again eat plum jam or margarine when the war ended. True to my promise, I never have.”

“I would hate to think that I had killed anyone during my time as a sniper. My feeling was that our job was to observe the distant action and report back to Headquarters, in order that a plan could be drawn up, to avoid them killing us.”

“A tiny piece of the device embedded itself in the back of my neck. I still feel it nowadays, when I comb my hair. It reminds me of just how lucky I am and how close I came to not surviving past my mid-twenties.”

I was surprised and fascinated to read about his being transferred from the battlefields in Europe to Ireland, where the independence movement was underway and the action was brutal in a very different way. “In 1916, when I left the battlefields of France I never thought I would want to return, but I was so pleased to be leaving Ireland, it was a relief to go back.”

Jack is such a fascinating character, and the life he lived is worthy of being told and retold. Sue Bavey has done a wonderful job forming these tidbits into a larger collection that holds together despite, or perhaps precisely because of the fact that they are such unique individual moments.

You may have read about the 20th century, and you have most likely lived through some of it, but I promise you, Lucky Jack will open your eyes to history in a way they never have been before.