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 the devastation from the Blitz was still very evident. Dad had been an Auxiliary Fireman all through 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 water colours and sketches I’d seen as a child. The second, an Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) Training Manual, with cartoons illustrating the lighter side of Dad’s traumatic experiences in the fire service during the Liverpool Blitz. They were too good to be hidden again, unseen and unappreciated.

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 the Seanchaí, Irish storytellers and keepers of oral history . Flights of Fantasy, completed at the end of last year, is a beautifully illustrated, A4, paperback book published by World of Creative Dreams – a good opportunity to thank Suzanne, my publishing mentor. Patient, professional, adaptable, understanding, friendly and quick to respond to queries. Without her my ‘Flight of Fantasy’ would still be just that.

Impressions of AFS firefighters during the Liverpool Blitz

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

A short chat with with Helen Jones of BBC Radio Merseyside about the book…

© BBC Radio Merseyside 2021

A glimpse of the story of Flights of Fantasy as covered by the Isle of Thanet News Blog…here.

And a few pages to whet your appetite…

All Images and text in this website are copyright: ©George Munday, 2021 and may not be used without the prior permission of the copyright holder.

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