In July 1942 with a notebook and pencil he had bought from a German guard, Dudley Muff started Alison's Book. Dudley was 42 and a prisoner of war in Stalag XVIIIB in Germany and his niece Alison was four and living in Timaru.
It starts 'Dear Alison, Mummy has told you all about Uncle being a prisoner so now I must tell you what we do to pass the time.' With humorous entries, sketches and what he called 'little men' his story grew until it became an unbelievable account of his time served in two prisoner-of-war camps.
Given to Alison when he returned to Christchurch after the war, she read it first as a child, purely for the excitement such a story could impart. Only later, rereading this as an adult, did she see through the veiled references to how life really was in the camps. After returning to Christchurch, Dudley added a one page postscript describing his journey to freedom. He finished the book with, 'Now I shall tell you in three little words what all my travels have taught me, NEVER BE AFRAID. With all the love in the world from Uncle Dudley'.