A BOOK, featured on page three of this week’s Gazette, which tells the story of tragic RAF hero Des Potter from Kendal, has inspired my own nostalgic journey.

Steven Potter, the author of Seven Short Lives, told me how he accompanied his father Brian on a visit to his older cousin’s wartime grave in Rouen, France.

It was a poignant trip, which helped to inspire Steven when it came to writing about 21-year-old wireless operator Des Potter and his fellow 106 Squadron crewmen.

Talking to Steven about the book reminded me about my own dad’s links with the war.

He was captured at Arnhem (he used to joke it was for shoplifting) and held in terrible conditions as a PoW for the last few months of the conflict, during which his weight dropped to seven stones.

Before taking off in a glider to fight in the futile ‘bridge too far’ campaign, my father had worked out a Baldrick-style cunning plan in case he was captured.

So when he was asked by the German guards what he did in civilian life, dad said he’d been a greengrocer in the hope that he would get to work with food.

But there were to be no turnips for Tunners Snr. He was put to work clearing snow from a local railway line, eventually securing the job of blowing a bugle whenever a train approached - a position wangled after he told the guards that he used to be in the Boys’ Brigade.

Later, he was almost shot for allowing the bugle to freeze, forcing him to run up and down the embankment waving his arms.

After the war, my father returned to Arnhem to attend various moving commemorations and he often said it would be good if one day I could accompany him. I was planning to do this in September 1998, but sadly my father died in the June of that year. One day I will make the trip - but I know it won’t be the same without dear old dad by my side.