This is to introduce my book ‘Just Another Forgotten Hero’. I have spent a few years researching the fascinating story of one ordinary man’s extraordinary life, from his humble beginnings in rural North Wales to his wartime adventures in the RAF and his eventual death as a homeless down and out.
He had been the rear gunner in a Lancaster bomber which was shot down on its way back to England after a raid on the Rhur industrial complexes. The other six members of his crew all died. He managed with the help of local patriots to return to Britain via France, Spain and Gibraltar, a risky journey that took him two months to complete. But life was not kind to our hero and he died alone and homeless estranged from his family, sadly not that unusual for ex-servicemen. Through painstaking research his story was slowly uncovered and passed on to his survivng offspring who had known nothing of his later life.
I have now almost completed writing this all up, and while I am looking for a publisher, I will be including extracts here from time to time.
The following is an entirely true story of the life story of an ex-RAF Air Gunner who was shot down over Belgium during World War 2. He evaded capture with the help of many brave patriots and returned to his RAF duties.
While many of things he encountered on his journey are unique and specific to this one man, many other forgotten heroes shared the same, or very similar, events. We must remember them all, for whether they came back whole, wounded or paid the ultimate price, certainly none remained unmarked. These tales are not recounted in the piecemeal haphazard way in which they were discovered, but more in relation to their own time line simply to make those parts of his story less disjointed and more readable. They are set in the context of the search for living descendants. The time-line of this search is accurate, although most of the false trails and dead ends are not included. It is told from my point of view as one of those concerned in that quest.
A Sad and Lonely Place
In an unmarked grave in Everton Cemetery there lies buried a long forgotten tale of love and loss, daring and despair, triumph and tragedy. Only now, more than 35 years after he was laid to rest here, can I tell you this man’s fascinating story. So whose mortal remains were placed there on the third of January 1985, alone and unremarked with neither friend nor relative to mourn his passing? A war hero, a father, a husband, someone’s son. An incredibly lucky and yet desperately unfortunate soul. A typically unique individual much like any of the rest of us.
This is his story.
Other extracts will be published on the posts pages, and will be available to all my readers. I do expect you all to respect the copyright rules. Other, longer sections of the book will only be in a password protected area. If you want to view those you can request permission here.