Michael Charles Alexander, who died in his sleep at his London home,
aged 84, was a Colditz war hero who went on to carve out a career as
writer, poet, explorer, connoisseur and life-enhancer extraordinaire.
was editorial director of Common Ground from 1946-50, of Oxford
University Press from 1950-51, and copublisher of Wildlife magazine
from 1982-86. He also wrote numerous books. One of them, The Privileged
Nightmare (with Giles Romilly) in 1952, was republished as Hostages at
Colditz in 1975.
The son of a rear admiral, he was educated at
Stowe public school. A commando in the Special Boat Services when he
was captured in North Africa, he was thereafter in the SAS and a
captain when he retired in 1946.
He escaped death when a corporal
colleague lied to the Germans that he was related to General Alexander,
Eighth Army commander. He was visited by Field Marshal Rommel and the
decision to execute him waived.
Alexander was then transferred to Colditz as a privileged prisoner.
the war he became assistant private secretary to Prime Ministers Sir
Alec Douglas-Home and James Callaghan and was private secretary to
In 1952 he located Firuzkoh in central
Afghanistan, took part in numerous hovercraft expeditions and was
founder and honourable president of the British Inflatable Boat Owners\\\’
in 1994. He founded the Woburn Safari Service in 1977 and the Chelsea
Wharf Restaurant in 1983 and wrote nine books, many set in India.
He had one daughter from a marriage that ended in 1963.