If you have ever wondered what life was really like for those airmen taken as Prisoner of War during WWII, or the harrowing exploits of those that managed to evade capture, then the forthcoming lecture taking place at the Yorkshire Air Museum on Saturday 20th March will answer all your questions. Internment was a life of squalor, deprivation, and almost unending monotony, with only the light relief of banter with fellow prisoners to keep alive a glimmer of hope for freedom.
‘Behind Enemy Lines’ will be presented by well known author and Aircrew Association historian Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork, drawing on his research for books such as ‘Shot Down’ and ‘On the Run / In the Drink’. Graham will be supported with recollections from John Morrison (76 Squadron) whose Halifax was shot down over Norway on the night of 30th / 31st January 1942 in the first of the attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz, spending the remainder of the war as a POW. We are also honoured to have ex Lancaster crewman Harry Levy, author of ‘The Dark Side of the Night’. As a 19 year old Jewish airman, Harry was the sole survivor after his aircraft crashed during a raid on Dusseldorf in July 1942. He was helped by Belgian patriots before being captured and held in solitary confinement for 10 weeks before moving to a POW camp. His presentation is bound to captivate the audience.
Neil Galloway, from 90 Signals RAF Leeming, will also be discussing the recent re-enactment of the 1945 ‘Long March’ of POW’s across Poland, which was undertaken by RAF personnel from across the country.
In addition, a fantastic line up of other veterans, all either POW’s or Evaders, and all with their own amazing tales to tell has been gathered and all of the veterans will be joining in the Question and Answer session and memorabilia signing opportunity that will take place after the lunch break. There will be book, print and model sales available.
The line up and the aircraft type they flew on is as follows:
POW’s are John Morrison (Halifax), Harry Levy (Lancaster), Fred Heathfield (Halifax), Philip Bates (Stirling).
Evaders: Tom Wingham (Halifax), Ray Worrall (Lancaster), Ralph Forster RCAF (Wellington), J R Parkinson (Lancaster), Rev. Les Hood (Lancaster) and Eric Hirst.
As all these gentlemen are now into their eighties, this event provides a rare opportunity to meet and hear at first hand their incredible experiences of life behind enemy lines.
Tickets are available now and cost just £10, to include 2 items for signing. (Additional charge for more items) but don’t delay as numbers are limited. Available online at: www.yorkshireairmuseum.co.uk (Shop / Tickets) or call 01904 608595 during office hours.