There must have been many people out there who thought that we were not going to publish any more volumes about the Old Nottinghamians of all ages who sacrificed their lives in the cause of freedom between 1939-1948.
But, while Covid-19 seized the world in its deadly grip, our work continued, albeit at a slower pace. And all those efforts have now ended with the publication of the third volume, detailing 24 of the High School’s casualties in World War II. Don’t think, incidentally, that we were running out of steam and had nothing to say. All five volumes have been deliberately constructed to contain the same amount of material as all of the others. And that material is all of the same quality.
This volume, therefore, portrays the families of these valiant young men, their houses, their years at school with Masters very different from those of today, their boyhood hobbies, their sporting triumphs and where they worked as young adults and the jobs they had. And all this is spiced with countless tales of the living Nottingham of yesteryear, a city so different from that of today. And as I have said before, “No tale is left untold. No anecdote is ignored.” Here are the teachers that many of them knew;
And as well, of course, you will find all the details of the conflicts in which they fought and how they met their deaths, the details of which were for the most part completely unknown until I carried out my groundbreaking research.
These were men who died on the Lancastria in the biggest naval disaster in British history or in the Channel Dash or in the Battle of the East coast when the Esk, the Express and the Ivanhoe all struck mines. Some died flying in Handley Page Hampdens, or Fairy Barracudas, or Hawker Hurricanes, or Avro Lancasters or Grumman Wildcats or even a North American O-47B. One casualty was murdered by a German agent who sabotaged the single engine of his army observation aircraft. One was shot by the occupant of a Japanese staff car who was attempting to run the gauntlet of “A” Company’s roadblock. One was the only son of the owner of a huge business that supported a small local town, employing thousands. When the owner retired, the factory had to close. He had no son to replace him. His son lay in a cemetery in Hanover after his aircraft was shot down. Thousands of jobs were lost. And all because of a few cannon shells from a German nightfighter. The work of a few split seconds.
They died in the Bay of Biscay, the Channel, the North Sea, Ceylon, Eire, Germany, Ijsselstein, Kuching, Normandy, Singapore, Tennessee. None of them knew that they were going to die for our freedoms. And certainly none of them knew where or when.
But they gave their lives without hesitation. And they do not deserve to be forgotten. That is why this book exists, and so does Volume One, and Volume Two and in due course, so will Volumes Four and Five.
We should never forget this little boy (right), playing the part of Madame Rémy, and killed in Normandy not long after D-Day:
We should not forget this rugby player, either, killed in a collision with a Vickers Wellington bomber.
We should not forget this young member of the Officers Training Corps (front row, on the left). A mid-upper gunner, he was killed in his Lancaster as he bombed Kassel, the home of at least one satellite camp of Dachau concentration camp:
We should not forget this young miscreant, either, mentioned in the Prefects’ Book for “Saturday, October 20th 1934. “Fletcher was beaten – well beaten.” By June 23rd 1944, though, he was dead, killed with twelve others when two Lancasters collided above their Lincolnshire base. He wanted to have a chicken farm after the war. Not a lot to ask for, but he didn’t get it:
We should not forget the Captain of the School, killed when HMS Express hit a German mine:
We should not forget the son of the US Consul in Nottingham, the highest ranked Old Nottinghamian killed in the war:
And we should not forget any of the others, wherever they may turn up. Killed by the Japanese in Singapore :
Killed in a road block firefight in Burma:
And this little boy, still years from being shot down on his 66th operational flight by Helmut Rose, in his Bf109, German ace and holder of the Iron Cross First Class. And yes, that is the little boy’s Hawker Hurricane:
The First XV player, proud of his fancy jacket:
A young man tricked into having to dress up as a young woman in “Twelfth Night”:
Two years later, getting a part as “Jean, a veritable Hercules….a convincing rural chauffeur”, in “Dr Knock”. Except that all of your friends think that you have got the part of the village idiot:
And a very frightened village idiot at that.
All three of the titles published in this series so far are on sale with both Amazon and Lulu. All royalties will be given to two British forces charities, and if this is important to you, you will prefer to buy from Lulu. This will generate a lot more revenue.
If Volume 3 is bought through Amazon at full price, the charities will get £1.23 from each sale.
If Volume 3 is bought through Lulu, that rises to £9.48.
Incidentally, if you see the price of the book quoted in dollars, don’t worry. The people at Lulu periodically correct it to pounds sterling, but it then seems to revert to dollars after a few days, although nobody seems to know why.