I’ve just posted up one of the most profoundly moving interviews I’ve ever done with a Second World War veteran. John Semken was one of only two men who went to Palestine with the the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry in 1940 and was still fighting with them in the spring of 1945.
The other was Stanley Christopherson, a junior subaltern at the start of the war but Officer Commanding by D-Day plus 3 in June 1944, and it was with Stanley’s son David – a great mate of mine – that I went to see John last October.
David’s father kept pretty fulsome diaries throughout the war and Bantam, who publish my books, are going to publish them some time next year. It’s my job to edit them down a bit and add some context, which is one of the reasons why we went to see John.
It’s already proving a fascinating project. I’ll post some more about Stanley soon, but in the meantime, I hope people find the interview interesting. One thing is for certain: being a tank man during the last nine months of the war was a very, very, dangerous occupation. My admiration for those chaps has risen even higher…