A FORMER RAF pilot has delved into the past to shed light on the life of a World War Two hero from Marlow in a new book.
Steven Potter, 55, of Gossmore Walk, Marlow, began researching the tale of a Lancaster bomber crew, which included his relative, only to discover that one of the seven comrades was also a Marlovian.
Author Mr Potter, who served in the RAF himself during the conflicts in the Gulf and Bosnia, seeks to tell a previously unknown history - the personal tales of the seven men who died fighting for their country.
His work has been aided by appeals for information from readers in the Free Press.
His father’s cousin, Sgt Des Potter, was 21-years-old when the plane crashed on the northern France in July 1944.
Although Mr Potter's relative was the reason he began investigating the story, an unexpected link to Marlow was made during his seven years of research.
He found that the pilot of the aircraft, 27-year-old Flt Lt Freddie Clement, was from Marlow.
Flt Lt Clement was born in London and lived in New Zealand during the 1920’s, but his family migrated back to England in 1936 and settled in Marlow during the war running The Crown & Anchor pub of Oxford Road.
Mr Potter began to seriously investigate the story in 2005.
“It begun because I wanted to find out what happened to a member of my family and what he did during the war and how he met his demise,” said the author “But then we uncovered this other link with Marlow, the fact that the pilot came from the town.”
The tip was given by a Free Press reader who came across the pilot’s name on a gravestone at the Marlow cemetery. Picture attached.
Pro-Libertate: Seven Short Lives aims to tell the story of the men and their path from ordinary lives into the fields of battle and to bring the readers close to the reality faced by each one and their families during the war.
Mr Potter said: “It is not my place to argue or justify the acts of nations at war. I only set to tell you how members of our own families were plucked from the streets of a peaceful nation to engage in a murderous life-or-death battle with little chance of survival."
He said many facts about the men have come to light during the creation of his book, which illustrate their families' lives, their experiences and the impact of their loss.
Described by publisher Tucann as a heart-warming and heart-breaking account of the strength and courage demanded of seven young men in a relentless fight for life, the book will be available in the Spring.