Gerald's War

Gerald is ‘Missing Feared Killed!’  Would he ever get home now he’d lost his lucky mascot, but did he even want to?

Gerald Davies, the eponymous hero of the book has a difficult childhood.  His mother, suffering from epilepsy, is forced into an asylum by his father who has taken up with a woman half his age. Unknown to Gerald, the person he knows as his aunt is his real mother.

It's 1936 and to escape, Gerald walks the short distance to the local RAF base and joins up.  He trains to be a pilot observer and is eventually attached to 211 Blenheim Bomber Squadron. He is sent to the Western Desert campaign and afterwards sees action in the Greco-Italian War. He dices with death daily and on one occasion famously goes missing for several days, having been shot down over the Ionian Sea. His family think he is dead. Meanwhile, Gerald and crew are being wined and dined by the people of Corfu during which time he meets Spiro Amerikanos, who famously befriended Gerald Durrell and his family before the Second World War broke out in Europe.

At one stage, Gerald is injured and taken to hospital in Alexandria where he meets Pilot Officer Roald Dahl, who has been injured in a crash flying his Gloster Gladiator.

Things get worse when Germany declares war on Greece on 6th April 1941. On Easter Sunday tragedy strikes, when all six Blenheims sent to tackle the German advance pouring into Greece are shot down.

This is a true story based on the life and exploits of the uncle of the author.  The book contains images from the time together with an account of the author's momentous trip to Corfu in 2020, when he was presented with the original compass from his uncle's downed aeroplane.

A truly unforgettable and tragic tale which will keep you reading to the bitter end.

Foreword to book by Sir David Jason.

Author's Notes

The story of Gerald’s RAF career is real ‘rags to riches’ about a boy from a two up, two down terrace in the backstreets of Shotton in Flintshire, who rose to gain a Commission in the RAF before his untimely death in the mountains of Greece on Easter Sunday, April 13th 1941 - 80 years coming up in a few weeks. The facts I ascertained during my research were never known by his family and now they are all long gone. I wish they could read the story now.

Whilst serving, at first in North Africa then Greece, Gerald meets Roald Dahl along with other famous people who played their own part in the conflict, including Syd Lawrence (he of orchestra fame) who lived a few streets away from Gerald’s home in Shotton. Gerald gained fame in his own right in 1940 with nationwide press coverage, when he proposed to his girlfriend via the press - this tragic relationship also forms part of the story. Gerald always carried a photograph of ‘Susan’ and when he crashed on Corfu in 1940, he blamed the fact he’d lost the photograph of Susan as the cause of his bad luck. When Gerald died on that Easter Sunday it was one of the most tragic events of the Second World War with all six planes from the squadron being shot down within minutes of each other. 

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Genre: Non Fiction > Memoir & Biographies

Listed on:

ISBN: 9798783345470


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