A LIFETIME’S dream of publishing the story of his heroic grandfather’s World War 2 adventures has finally be achieved by a Redditch author.
March by Moonlight tells the tale of RAF Bomber Command observer Sergeant Jack Love, whose Wellington bomber, damaged by anti aircraft fire, crash lands in Northern France in May 1942.
It relates how the crew miraculously survived and set off to walk to Switzerland through occupied France a journey that took them to the River Doubs.
Three men attempted to swim across but only two made it, becoming part of the famous Pat O’Leary escape line.
However Jack and rear gunner Alec Crighton, unable to swim, look for a safer crossing only to run into a German patrol to subsequently endure three years in a prisoner of war camp.
What followed was years of deprivation and hunger, including surviving the tragic ‘long march’ of prisoners in 1945.
“I’ve been fascinated by my grandfather’s story ever since I could remember, and back in 1988 I eventually managed to persuade him to tell me about it,” said his grandson, Barry Love, who moved to Oakenshaw in Redditch three years ago.
“I started doing some research down at RAF Hendon but in those days so much was still classified or not available.
“However in 1990 I did manage to organise a reunion with two of the other crew who were still alive, which was absolutely unbelievable – you should have seen their faces.”
Jack died in 1997 but with the arrival of the internet age Barry was finally able to fill in the gaps in his grandfather’s exploits and despite miss-laying the book’s early chapters it has now finally been published.
“Two years ago I was made redundant and I thought, now is the time to crack on. It’s been 25 years in the writing but it has been worth it.”
Barry is now working on a new book, again based on the real life experiences of a shot down bomber crew.
March by Moonlight is published by Fighting High Ltd, ISBN – 978-0-9934152-1-0, priced £25 or direct from the author at www.facebook.com/March-By-Moonlight-1640336716191294/ .
To see a video of Barry’s grandfather meeting his old comrades at their reunion – originally shown in Anglia TV – tap https://youtu.be/rIsF4H2jNcQ