Journey

Everybody has a book in them, or so it's said. But it's something else again getting it onto the page and to a place where it might be shared.

I have been writing since I was a young child. Always, my dream was to see my name on the spine of a book. Books gave me life, a dream to live by. Through their portals I could escape so easily into other worlds. Books also saved my life ... yes, really!

This is the story of my books and my journey as an author, including a very personal view of my journey through Life. I hope it will inspire and give hope to writers and readers young and old.

Getting published can be a waiting game. It's hard .. and getting harder. But then sometimes it can happen in an unexpected way and suddenly, we truly are living our dream. And we realise that it isn't after all the winning that is important, but the journey that is ours along the way.

I would love to hear from anyone who connects with what is written here. A signed copy of any of my books is available. You have only to write and ask:

janineharrington53@gmail.com







Wednesday, 12 November 2014

EXHIBITION 7 November 2014

With the launch of a new novel, it was my pleasure to be asked to take part in an Exhibition being held at Ga11ery 11 local to where we live. It offered the chance of old and new artistes to display their wares ... including arts and crafts, paintings ... and my books.

With my 21st publication, it felt like a Coming of Age Party!

Bottles of wine flowed followed by dishes of tasty nibbles as the public gathered to talk and share what was on show, despite the howling wind and rainfall putting off all but those determined to enjoy their evening.

My display featured the RAF 100 Group Association, remembering those brave forgotten heroes whose name is never mentioned on Remembrance Day because of the secrecy of their work. Shame then that the book I had hoped to be able to show on this day in their memory was pulled suddenly by the publishers, despite having a contract between us. RAF 100 Group - Kindred Spirits, draws together the voices of both RAF & USAAF who flew in partnership on secret airfields in Norfolk, UK. It is a precious and very unique book which illustrates commitment and courage of ordinary men and women living in extraordinary times. 

As a complete work, it is written in their words, including private writings, poetry, photographs and information about secret operations, flying like Guardian Angels over the bombers, identifying and jamming enemy radar. This was their main field of work, and yet they did so much work, including working with the Resistance, S.O.E and S.O.D, confusing the enemy by countermanding orders in German, etc, etc. The book is filled with so many personal experiences shared openly for the first time. It is a book which has come to mean so much to so many. 

As Secretary of the worldwide RAF 100 Group Association, and having worked alongside them for the past twenty years or so, my promise to them was to bring their stories out of the shadows into the light, to give them a public platform and a voice with which to share their fascinating stories. Those who did not come home will remain forever young, like my mother's wartime fiance who served under the lead Squadron of RAF 100 Group - No. 192, at RAF Foulsham, Norfolk. Vic and Jack went off in their Mosquito DK292 and were never heard from again. It is thought they were on an operation over Munich, and on their return perhaps had engine trouble, forcing them to land on a French beach, which they didn't know was mined!! The story of my mother Nina and Vic, who were to have married a few days following this operation, was published on the 60th Anniversary of Vic and Jack's death in November 2004. While this year marks the 70th Anniversary. And it was just so important to have this book published this year, 2014, bringing them together as part of the RAF 100 Group with which they served ... showing the wider picture, offering a deeper understanding of their very secret world.

Those who survived have held secrets about their wartime years throughout their lives, never speaking of what they were involved in, not even with their wives and family, taking the Official Secrets Act they had to sign at the time very seriously.

By withdrawing publication of this book, the publishers betrayed their trust and mine.

It was meant to be out for Remembrance Day, a fitting Memorial, which served to mark so many Anniversaries.

It is a book which means so much to so many, and now my pledge to these veterans is to continue my quest to get this book published ... whatever it takes ... sooner rather than later because for many, time is running out! Meanwhile, I have an ever-growing waiting list of people across the world made up of veterans and their families and friends, bookshops and Museums waiting to purchase a copy of this unique book.

I remain passionate that this book WILL be published. These precious, brave, and very wonderful people who helped bring the war to an early conclusion and saved so many thousands of lives WILL be recognised, and have the respect and honour they so richly deserve.

 Meanwhile, the exhibition offered a platform for the second of my two mystery novels entitled: 'Ugly Truth, Beautiful Lies', featuring Joe Maddison who has become adept at uncovering historical puzzles. The first in the series came out last year, published by Austin Macauley: 'Stone Cold Dead'. Both have an underlying thread linking them into a third in the series still to be published set in WWII.

I remain passionate about writing, but grow wearisome of publishers for whom books remain a business. I understand they need to make their profit margins, etc. And yet it is people who matter, people who become the readers, people who are curious and want to be informed, otherwise why do I continue to receive so many letters from those wanting to know how to find out about family members who served in this secret Group?

In this year, when the world has been remembering Anniversaries relating to two World Wars, I would have thought it fitting that a book be published to celebrate the lives of forgotten heroes, who served in different RAF Squadrons under a very secret Group involved in electronic warfare in the Second World War about which so little is written or known, particularly from the perspective of those who were there at the time.

'We WILL remember them!'




Sunday, 12 October 2014

NEW PUBLICATION

UGLY TRUTH, BEAUTIFUL LIES
by Janine Harrington
published by Austin Macauley, 
31 October 2014, ISBN: 9781849635257

Joe Maddison has gained a name for himself for unravelling historical mysteries. After solving the wartime riddle involving his own family, this time he has to travel further into the past and delve into someone else's dark family secrets.

While holidaying in the heart of England, Joe and his wife Laura are asked to help unravel a 160 year old puzzle which has grown into a family legend and a ghost story. As they begin to dig into the disappearances of Connor and Isabella, young lovers from opposite ends of the Victorian social spectrum, it seems that the prejudices and presumptions of that era have survived down the ages.

It soon becomes clear that for Joe there might be more at stake than at first he thought, and his previous investigation may not be completely closed.


This is a book which represents for me the best I can offer in writing in the fiction genre. It became so precious, so personal, so much a part of me, I didn't want it to end, and lived through a real grieving process when once it was done, with the characters of Connor and Isabella still very much a part of me and my life. The best part about it is that the places in the book actually exist. It is for the reader to follow the clues.

An interview already completed for this publication is something I would like to share, because it offers a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes, the things which inspire me to write, and the way often life can mirror the story coming through:

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

     How did you come up with the title?

The title was born out of the saying: sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction. Sometimes we prefer the legend to how history played out in real terms. Often it can be simpler to leave things well alone

    Who is your intended audience, and why should they read your book?

This book is written for those who enjoy delving into family history and the past, finding out about myths and legends, understanding how and why things came to be. The places in this book do exist. It is possible to visit and therefore grasp the emotion behind the characters, and to see the places described in real time. Again, it is about following the clues – a mystery within a mystery, or so it would seem!

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Don’t be afraid to get involved! On the other hand, be prepared for the unexpected if that’s what you do. Every event in this life presents a challenge. At that point where you stand at a crossroads or a fork in the road, trust your instincts. The moral behind this book is about working together towards a common goal, and how even just one person can make a difference!

What inspires you and motivates you to write the most?

Life experience! Often it feels as if I have lived many lives in the one … read my website to understand more – www.JanineHarrington.blogspot.com. For me, there is no such thing as fiction. Every book is built around life and experience, people we meet, strangers who become friends and soulmates, shadows which follow us on from the past and the gathering emotion they bring with them. Often the future appears hauntingly beautiful. At other times it can be marred by those shadows which stay with us until the end of Time. In everything we do there are lessons to be learned. It is our challenge in life to be the best that we can, and to give freely to others. I have been inspired by great pain, by emotions that ran so deep I never thought I would survive; I have also been inspired by joy and laughter and love … particularly that which comes from loving and being loved, life’s greatest gift of all.
 
Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now. If you could live anywhere you wanted to live, where would that be?

I grew up in the south of England, in a land of magic and wonderment created by my parents. Born disabled, it was the stories my mother told me from as far back as I can remember which gave me promise and hope, something I wanted to be a part of. A very real part of me grew up in a world that wasn’t real, a world that didn’t exist except in our imagination, born of love, and a need to cherish and protect. In the shadows I learned that dragons and beasties really did exist. They controlled and challenged me for years, hidden just out of sight, but never out of mind. It took me tens of years before I was able finally to face those demons and take back control. I have written of these experiences in books which can be found on Amazon under my profile, and which became a cathartic part of moving on. It is also my hope that these books will support others and give them the courage to confront their fears and know they are not alone.

  Today I live with my husband, Tony, on the coast in the North East of England, and I cannot think of anywhere I would rather be. We married last year after a few years together, while Jo my daughter, is a free spirit, travelling the world in search of places to live and be. She married this year, and she is someone of whom I remain immensely proud for everything she has already achieved and which is yet to be. This book is dedicated to her, and to Tony who continues to share my journeyings. 

Tell us something personal about yourself that people may be surprised to know?

Born under the sign of Cancer, I am a Home-Maker, Home-Lover, someone who is strong for others, and yet often impossibly useless at helping herself. The motto I live by is that, out of every negative must come a positive … the greater the negative, the more that positive must be. I have almost died, and this challenge I set myself has always somehow pulled me through. The strongest part about me is my faith, and in the connectivity of people … those we meet, those who are a part of our family, those who will always remain strangers. It is the reason I will always help and support someone in need. Previous work experience has always been involved with people living on the edge – homeless, addicts, offenders in and out of prison, victims/survivors, disabled, older people, unemployed, excluded young people. Apart from prison, drug or alcohol abuse, my life mirrors their experience, and I feel a common bond.

Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?

There are so many it’s difficult to choose, but I would love to spend time again with my mother who became my soulmate before she died from cancer in 1996. She never saw or read any of the kind of books I am writing now, never saw the positivity I can generate. I was in a dark place when she died, and she was afraid I would follow her.

  To me she was famous because of everything she achieved. She too was a writer, a potential author, who gave up her ambition to support my father follow his own dream.

  I would also love to meet, talk and share with her wartime fiancĂ© Henry Victor (Vic) Vinnell who was killed suddenly on such a secret operation it is still not known, 70 years on, what he was involved in or where his final resting place might be. My mother never got over his death. Again, I have written their love story in a book entitled: ‘Nina & Vic: A World War II Love Story’, so in a very real way they both became very special, very important to me, people I love, and who in their own way became famous.

        Which writers inspire you?

My childhood inspirations were Enid Blyton, her stories filled with so much mystery and suspense I was always wishing for something unexpected to happen to follow through the clues myself. I went on to John Creasey who wrote in many guises more adult thrillers, meaningful plots, where the characters of people were teased into doing things they might never have done. Richard Bach is always a favourite, starting with ‘Jonathan Livingstone Seagull’ which I read over and over again, together with ‘One’, and ‘Bridge Across Forever’. These days, I enjoy Lee Child and following the thrilling adventures of Jack Reacher. However, in complete contrast, I also cannot get enough of books about reincarnation and the Afterlife, following the writings of Dr Brian Weiss, Carol Bowman and Michael Newton. They offer a completely alternative perspective about life, and at the same time answer so many searching questions, while generating so many more. It is these books which have inspired me to seek my own regression therapy, which I will share on my website as it happens.

     What are your ambitions for your writing career?

My one burning ambition is to have published a book about RAF 100 Group, bringing together the many voices of veterans who served in this secret group during WWII, and who never received recognition or a medal for their work with the Resistance, SOE, SOD, and identifying and jamming enemy radar. I have a book written and ‘ready to roll’ which means so much to so many, when Time is running out for them and their deepest need is to see their words in print, to know that their history and stories are preserved for the future and generations to come.

  Otherwise, I am a passionate and prolific writer. My life wouldn’t be complete without using this gift. I love writing about life, the people I meet, the many gateways to different ways of learning through experience. I will never tire of this … only the publication of my writings holds me back from doing more.

What are your expectations for this book? 

That readers will want to step through the portal offered and climb on tight for the roller-coaster ride with its unexpected twists and turns, feeling the story as if it were their own … leaving them with an unquenchable thirst to find out more and a need to read the first book ‘STONE COLD DEAD’, published by Austin Macauley if they haven’t already, but then wait until the next emerges again featuring Joe Maddison, with the writing already in progress.

  I hope many readers will enjoy these stories where the places are real, and by following the clues, it is possible to sit at a table by the same canal as Joe and Laura Maddison, imagining the way it might have been for them. The book is so real for me I didn’t want it to end, and I have the clearest picture of Connor and Isabella sitting at my side, wanting people to know them, to find out about their life, their love, and for the book to reach readers for whom this will become a book which touches their hearts.

Is there anything else you'd like to say? 

There is still one further book at least yet to be completed featuring Joe Maddison and the mystery that still hangs over his life, reaching back to the war. And there are others, tugging at my heart, aching to be written, reminding me, stirring me lest I become complacent, wishing only that they reach a wider public and are enjoyed by all.




Friday, 12 September 2014

MIRACLES STILL HAPPEN

In the Autumn of my years, I consider wryly how it was to be at the foot of Everest, looking up to see the summit disappear from view in dense low cloud. So filled with hope and yearning, I set my foot firm and began the climb. I knew it was a challenge. But I was doing it on behalf of so many people, veterans who deserved recognition, respect and honour through their stories I carried with me. Six months on and the book I was writing was ready and with the publishers. Finally then, I could breathe ...

So how does it happen that I now find myself asking another publisher to take it on board?!?

Even when you've signed a contract in the writing world, it seems, the tables can be turned against you.

BE WARNED!!

Meanwhile, I haven't been idle having already signed a contract with another publisher for a 3-book series about RAF 100 Group Operations, illustrating how much of an impact electronic warfare made when the Group came together at the end of 1943, turning the war around, saving so many thousands of lives. Book 1 begins with Chamberlain's infamous broadcast: 'This country is now at war!' Imagine the shudder, the feeling of gloom and despair that rippled through the nation. 

Imagine ... 

The day comes alive in a very real way as I read through people's shared experiences of that time. It makes compulsive reading. And so the book begins on a knife edge, before attempting this time, not to climb Everest, but the Pyrenees. It's a roller-coaster ride, a voyage of discovery. Young men sensing adventure signed away their lives believing that good would triumph over evil. Those who survived came back as battle-weary men so much older than their years. And as with all veterans of war, had to find a way to settle back into a country so very different to that which they left behind. Minds played over and over all they had seen and heard. It was a time for heroes, courage and commitment, kept alive by hope, writings from home, and a deep respect and love of their country.

And yet at what cost?

Meanwhile, families mourned those who did not return, torn apart, unable to comprehend their sudden absence.

This year commemorates so many Anniversaries. I had believed that RAF 100 Group - Kindred Spirits would be published in time for Remembrance Day, in memory of my mother's wartime fiance Vic Vinnell and his Canadian pilot Jack Fisher, both of whom disappeared into a cold November night in their Mosquito DK292 and were never seen again. They took the secrets of the operation they were on to the grave. My mother and Vic were to have married a few days on. Imagine spending the rest of your days thinking back to those times, holding back the lake of tears with his dear face gazing back at the one he loved so much. All that she had was the rusty nail from the gate of Blymhill Church where they exchanged marriage vows in preparation for The Day, his inner silk flying gloves, and five precious photographs, together with hundreds of letters shared ... now in my tender care, his legacy lives on.

The veterans of RAF 100 Group give me purpose. They inspire me. Their stories, letters, poems and writings spill over, and I love each and every one of these very special people. I remain passionate about preserving both their history, their very secret work, and the story of how they lived and survived the war. I also have families who write, asking questions about those who did not return, needing answers. And I give my all in trying to bring comfort and strength. Answers are not so easily found because this was a very secret Group whose main aim was to identify and jam enemy radar, to make them believe things were happening in other places to where the main attack would be, and who used very experimental equipment, becoming adept at challenging the faceless enemy and defeat the evil which raged across our lands, threatening loved ones, trying to take away our freedom and all that we held dear.

My heart spills over with love for these precious souls who gave so much for the kind of freedom we enjoy today.

Out of the one story shared by my mother, I now have so many hundreds more, each a part of a complex picture set against a world at war.

Miracles can happen. Miracles DO happen. We just need to believe in good, and that precious gift of LIFE!!




Sunday, 29 June 2014

Everest of the Writing World

Gazing out of my window on the world outside, it has that surreal quality of looking at a dream inside out. Winged seagulls keep a watchful eye on their young, nesting high amongst a clutter of chimney pots; a light breeze stirs white blossom on the bush reminding me fleetingly of weddings, while net curtains twitch in the bungalow behind, a face peering through the pane filled with such longing and despair it tugs the heart strings, wishing I could take away the pain of losing his wife.

I press the pause button on my world in the here and now, reflecting on the way months have passed in a blur of words and images, a screen scrolling to and fro, as I try to make sense of the futility of war. It was just before Christmas 2013 I signed a contract with Red Kite Publisher to climb the Everest of my writing career - the challenge: to complete a work in six months, drawing together a collective of voices of those who served during WWII in the very secret mainly still unknown world of RAF No.100 (Bomber Support) Group. 

As a founding member, for the past 20+ years it has been a huge joy and privilege to meet and talk and share with these wonderful people. We are in touch daily, very much a supportive, actively-involved Family. As Secretary of the worldwide RAF 100 Group Association, and Editor of our Association quarterly magazine: 'Confound & Destroy', I cannot imagine life without them. Between the years 1939-1945, as young men, they put their lives on the line to bring an early end to war, introducing new and highly secret equipment fitted to their aircraft to counter-act the number of bombers being brought down. In a war that stole so many young men from their families, shattered the peace of many countries, enslaved, tortured, mistreated individuals and groups trying simply to save their country from the enemy; RCM - Radio Countermeasures - was something very new, very different, so secret that even all these years on since the war, those involved have never spoken about the part they played in bringing about peace, saving so many thousands of lives which would otherwise have been destroyed.

RAF 100 Group - Kindred Spirits
Voices of RAF & USAAF on secret Norfolk airfields during WWII
by Janine Harrington

Almost every single day this year, I have stepped through the portal taking me back in Time, to when Merlin engines could be heard overhead, flying steadfastly towards the enemy, determined to save what is rightfully ours, to set free those oppressed and held, bringing freedom, restoring warmth and compassion and life to a world which teetered on the edge of a dark awesome chasm. Brave men brought us back from the brink. And for the past six months, my heart has been right there, fighting beside them, a part of the dog-fights in the skies, chasing the enemy from our shores, rejoicing when we won the fight, grieving for those who did not make it home.

Every day the post has brought more and more stories from veterans around the world, many who have never shared before, not even with their families. It has been a privileged position to be indeed, and a humbling one ... and I thank you one and all from the bottom of my heart. In sharing, you have brought alive the ideals you fought for ... and these are stories I very much want to share with the rest of the world.

The publishers assure me that the first 100 copies out will be collectables.

The first 100 copies will contain the signatures of veterans. These are the names we must remember for the future, and their stories take to our hearts, and share with our children and their children in the hope that this must never happen again.

'We are the forgotten heroes', claims one veteran of WWII.

Why?

Because despite everything they achieved, they were never included in Churchill's post-war speech, nor were they given any form of recognition or a medal.

This book is about trying to do right by them. They sent me their stories that they might teach us what it was really like, the truths of war. And I thank Red Kite for giving me the opportunity to reach a wider public, and to share the lives of these wonderful brave people who gave so much that we might have the freedom we have today.

I consider this book the greatest challenge of my writing career.

I have tried to bring it to life by sharing the words of those for whom war became an everyday way of life ...

Ordinary people living in extraordinary times!

This work is now complete. Shortly it will be on its way to the publisher. Their aim is for it to be published in time for November, for Remembrance Day ... in memory of those like my mother's wartime fiance Vic Vinnell and his Canadian friend and pilot Jack Fisher who served at Foulsham under 192 Squadron in Norfolk. They went out on a secret operation on 26/27 November 1944 and were never heard of again. For them there are no known graves. We still have no closure. Sadly, it is a familiar story for many, who lost loved ones, and who because their work was so secret, never had a place to remember them.

My world for the past six months has existed through the portal in a time out of Time ... the year 1944 when, in my mind's eye, I have caught a glimpse of a young WAAF smiling up into the face of her RAF Officer fiance, listening as they share their wedding plans, knowing their dream will never become a reality because, one day, he will fly off ... and she will never hear from him again.

Slowly I am returning. 

I have been on a long arduous journey, seen so much, shared with so many different people from all walks of life, gazed into the void, tasted death. With a sense of shock I realise we have moved on from winter into spring into summer. The days are warmer here, the world at peace ... or at least our corner of it. But the lessons I have learned are still fresh in my mind, and I watch the news with a growing sense of awareness of what it means to live in war-torn Europe, every day offering a glimpse into the unknown. We take freedom for granted. And yet, it comes at a price which we only seem to realise if it is snatched away from us, putting someone in control, demanding we live by the rules of another.

My perception on the world has shifted. A part of me is still living the war years which brought this country to its knees, taking homes, destroying lives in a heartbeat. I cannot easily let it go. But alongside it there is at least a future that offers hope ... 

I look forward to the day I hold my first copy of this book, knowing I have put body, mind, spirit, soul, into its completion. I have no more to give ... 

And yet, just as I thought I had reached the peak of my writing career, there is something unexpected just around the corner already calling my name, reaching for my attention, asking if ...

Watch this space to find out more!




Monday, 31 March 2014

SLIPPING THROUGH A PORTAL ...

Imagine for a moment ...

It is night. You are staring up at the skies, seeking out the stars set on a black velvet cushion, needing to hold, for a moment, thoughts of a daydream, wishing it were true, aching for the promise of hope that might bring.

Dark shadows flit across the heavens. Light dims. Stars glitter and fade. Suddenly, the roar of Merlin engines can be heard, getting ever nearer. Sirens raise an endless tuneless motion of sound breaking wide open the silence, while the sound of running feet pound the pavement ... children wail, afraid of the unknown ... adults startled like rabbits are caught in a frenzy, dragging loved ones close.

When did it begin?

Where will it end?

And then ... years rush by. The tunnel of Time whisks me back to the present. I open my eyes. It is evening, yes. Outside the last call of the gulls are crying like tiny babies seeking out their mothers. But there is light. And all around us are people talking and laughing, pausing for moments to gaze at our unexpected display, asking questions, wanting to know what it's like when such a night as this is in wartime ... and freedom is but a dream away ...




GA11ERY ELEVEN within Filey Post Office, North Yorkshire; hosted an Art Evening on Friday evening, 28th March. Tony and I displayed books, memorabilia and posters together with other items of interest relating to WWI with my book 'Brothers', the wartime experiences of my two great uncles; 'Nina & Vic: A World War II Love Story' about my mother's wartime love, featuring Navigator and Special Operator Vic Vinnell with Pilot Jack Fisher of RAF 100 Group; and 'Stone Cold Dead', my first published thriller, with a mystery set in wartime.
 
The Gallery is hosting another evening in the Autumn when it is hoped I will have two new publications on display ...
 
I would like to thank Fiona and Ben for all the nibbles and drink that went with the evening, and the many people who turned up despite the weather. It was good to have the books on display, and to meet others in the 'art' world ... and a good time was had by all!





Thursday, 13 March 2014

2014 - YEAR OF OPPORTUNITY!

Hello World!

When opportunity comes knocking at the door, who are we to say 'Hang on, I'm busy right now, come back later!' or 'It isn't quite the right time ...' This opportunity might not come again, and we need to seize the chance when we can, grab hold of everything this life has to offer ... and go with the flow, willing to see where it might take us.

This is certainly the case for me right now. Doors are popping open right, left and centre, until I get dizzy just thinking about it. But then, I need to 'Do' not 'Think', and bring my scattered emotions together to use in the writing to come.

The year had hardly begun and me still getting used to being a married woman, while still using my maiden name for writing; when out of the blue, I'm asked for an interview by 'Living North' magazine following up the publication of my first thriller: 'STONE COLD DEAD' by Austin Macauley in October last year.
Living Magazine, Spring edition 2014
I have my second Joe Maddison thriller steeped in myths and legend, with plenty of clues for the hero to uncover truths buried in time - UGLY TRUTH, BEAUTIFUL LIES - coming out shortly.

Watch this space!!
*   *   *   *

Meanwhile, as Secretary of the worldwide RAF 100 Group Association made up of veterans of WWII who were part of secret counter-measure operations committed to keeping Britain safe, I continue to feel humbled and privileged to serve these wonderful people in whatever way I can. Nothing gives me more joy than to receive the many letters, photographs, shared experiences, and daily emails they continue to send to me, each one an absolute treasure ... choosing that special moment to savour everything it has to offer. 

These are people now in their late eighties and nineties, and yet their memories remain crystal clear of those bygone days when they came together like a Family, to push the enemy back to distant shores. I hear also from their loved ones and family who, once they pass on, have no idea what to do with the material they find in attics crammed with cardboard boxes filled with Log Books, Flight Sheets, official documents and papers, writings, poems about which the family know nothing at all. Suddenly, they have so many questions. And the more they learn, the more they need to know. It becomes a quest for the future ... and in turn, they join our Association to meet with those their loved one might have served with and who can share that part of them they never ever knew. 

As Editor of the Association magazine, more and more it becomes obvious that there will never be space to share this priceless material. And yet I remain passionate that it should not be relegated to decaying boxes in the attic where it risks being lost forever, together with the names of these already forgotten heroes. The name of RAF No.100 (Bomber Support) Group is still not known today, 70 years on. And yet it was these very people who helped shorten the war to keep our country safe, losing so many of their own. We meet each year in May in Norfolk where they were based on secret airfields and emotions run high as they come together once more with those they knew like brothers. It is a time for quiet reflection, for remembering those who gave their lives in service to their country, and offers the opportunity to talk openly amongst those who shared the experience, knowing what it was to fly high above the clouds, alert, fearful, without warning being attacked by the enemy, seeing best friends perish ... 

I remain determined that these people and their memories will be remembered long after they are gone. And to this end, I brought together material collected by a schoolboy at the time, Len Bartram, who cycled around his home area, watching and learning, talking to airmen and writing notes, drawing maps, leading him in adult years to become a speaker; to create a series of 12 booklets. Each centres on one of these airfields, with the Squadrons that came and went, the aircraft, and the people for whom it became Home.

These booklets provided a taster.

Now I am bringing them together under one cover for the future, together with so much more information recently come to light, including people's shared experiences who have been inspired at the thought of being published in a book ... somewhere finally to safely lay their memories to rest, and where people for the future might learn from them.

RAF 100 GROUP: KINDRED SPIRITS
personal experiences of RAF & USAAF on secret Norfolk airfields during WWII

with a Foreword written by Wing Commander K J Dix OBE, AFC QCVSA, RAF (Ret'd)

will be published by Red Kite in time for Remembrance Day 2014, a year which marks the 70th Anniversary of the death of my own mother's wartime fiance Vic Vinnell, and his Canadian friend and pilot Jack Fisher. They served at Foulsham, Norfolk, in 192, the lead Squadron of 100 Group during the war, and on whose information other Squadrons acted. On the 60th Anniversary in 2004, I had published 'Nina & Vic: A World War II Love Story'. That book focused on the love shared between a WAAF (Nina, my mother) and Vic, her sweetheart, an RAF Officer in 100 Group. This book I am writing now, focuses on the history and work of RAF 100 Group and the shared experiences of those who served, together with the USAAF who flew in partnership with them on so many wartime operations.

This book is set to become an aviation collectable.

Within its pages will be the original signatures of veterans who served under this very secret Group.

The first 100 publications will become the collectables, with those that follow still holding so much new and vital information for all aviation enthusiasts ... and yet, at the same time, written in a language understood by all, aimed at readers with no previous aviation knowledge, and absolutely priceless in terms of emotive personal writings of what it was to serve in this very secret Group.

Needless to say, it presents a huge challenge to the author. I have likened it to climbing the Himalayas in that there are so many peaks and troughs, so much material coming at me from all parts of the world. More than anything else, I want to do right by these brave forgotten heroes who deserve so much respect, admiration and gratitude for what they achieved, and who never received a medal from Bomber Command under which their Group served. Not even on Remembrance Day do you hear their name mentioned. It remains a travesty of justice. These are such wonderful, giving, loving patient and caring people ... the best in the world. Many of them are legends of their time. I count them amongst my closest Family. They will always have a place in my heart. And yet so little is known about their experiences. It is as if they were simply airbrushed out of history. Which is the reason I remain committed to bringing this material together ... dedicated to them and the memory of those who did not return ... like my mother's fiance Vic Vinnell, and Canadian pilot Jack Fisher.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM!

 Mosquito Mark IV
Vic & Jack disappeared on night of 26/27 Nov 1944
in Mosquito DK292 after an operation over Germany