AN ABINGDON GP has written a 450-page military history book after he was inspired by the story of an elderly patient.

Dr Prit Buttar, of Abingdon Surgery in Stert Street, spent eight years writing Battleground Prussia after the 83-year-old told him about her life as a nurse in East Prussia, near the end of the Second World War.

The Germans fought a vicious battle with the advancing Russian army in the region, now part of Poland.

During the routine check-up in 2002, the German pensioner, whom he would not name, told Dr Buttar of her escape from the advancing Russian Army and the horrors she witnessed.

Dr Buttar, who served in the British Army as a medical officer for five years, said it was one of the most brutal periods of the war.

He said: “The Germans behaved appallingly in Russia – they left 20 million dead. Many of the Russian soldiers in the campaign had lost family members and were determined on revenge.

“But the German army fought quite literally to the last man.”

The 50-year-old father-of-two added: “The more I researched it, the more I realised it was a campaign that had not been at all covered in English. It is a sort of forgotten corner of the war.

“I discovered the extraordinary find that the German navy carried out the largest sea evacuation ever. They suffered three of the five worst losses of life at sea in history.

“Each of the three ships that were sunk were carrying between four and eight thousand people. It was especially tragic as one ship was carrying 5,000 concentration camp prisoners.”

Dr Buttar, of Holywell Close, Abingdon, said he had always been interested in military history and found writing the book immensely rewarding.

He said: “It took nearly eight years while doing a full time job. But it has been an amazing experience and I have such a wonderful feeling about doing something else.

“Until I actually held a copy of the book there was a sense of unreality.

“But to hold more than 400 pages of my own words – it is quite a feeling.”

The book, which costs £20, has been published by Osprey Publishing & Shire Books and is available from bookshops or online at

Mike Ramalho, marketing manager at the publisher, said it was the longest book they had ever published.

He said: “It is selling really well and we are chuffed with it.”

Dr Buttar added: “I was overjoyed that they regarded it as having sufficient merit, having never had anything published before.”