The story behind the book…
Four years after the Second World War, when I was knee high to a grasshopper, my Dad George (Snr) would take me for a Sunday morning stroll through Liverpool City centre where devastation from the Blitz was still very evident. Dad had been an Auxiliary Fireman throughout those terrible days and he’d often relate stories about firefighting episodes. On the rare Sunday it rained, he’d show me the eclectic collection of water colours and sketches he’d created throughout the war..
When he died, relatively young and unexpectedly a few years later, his artwork was nowhere to be found. It was many years later, while taking a last look around the family home, that I climbed in to the loft, to find in the gloom an ancient tea-chest full of old magazines.
Buried under them, was a cardboard box containing two books, one an old, hard-backed exercise book packed with the pictures I’d seen as a child. The second, an Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) Training Manual, with cartoons illustrating the lighter side of Dad’s experiences in the fire service during the Liverpool Blitz. And an old anti-gas tin box with little pots of water colours. It was like finding treasure.
It took a further 30 years, my retirement and lots of thought before I could start on the project. A further six years of research including visits to Ramsgate where dad was born, and to Liverpool to where he relocated – and I was born. Then I began writing, influenced by the style of Irish storytellers, the keepers of oral history . Flights of Fantasy, completed at the end of last year, is a beautifully illustrated, A4, paperback book published by Suzanne Lau in World of Creative Dreams Without which my ‘Flight of Fantasy’ would still be just that.
So, back to the book, written for everyone to enjoy, from grandparents who lived through the events; to young adults who didn’t. For those with a broad interest in the history of the first half of the 20th Century; aviation enthusiasts, art lovers and folk who enjoy a compelling and fascinating yarn…
“This book is excellent, put together from personal family memoirs, drawings & paintings from the author’s father. It follows his life from Ramsgate, where he witnessed Bleriot’s flight across the Channel from his father’s fishing smack. When Ramsgate became the most heavily bombed city in WW1, the family moved to Liverpool, ironically our second most bombed city in WW2.
Follow George’s fascination with aircraft from both world wars, his excellent sketches & paintings, along with the fascinating people he met along the way – and how they fit into this fascinating memoir. “I’m really not into anything to do with wars…but the illustrations in this book pulled me in and then I couldn’t stop…it’s a lovely read and George Snr was obviously a very talented artist. I’m glad George Jr put it all together for the rest of us to enjoy – Jenny
And finally, a short chat with with Helen Jones of BBC Radio Merseyside about the book…
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