Seventy years ago this December a French farming family in occupied France gave Denys Teare a surprise cake to celebrate his 22nd birthday.
In September 1943 he baled out of a burning Lancaster bomber returning from a bombing raid over Germany before it crashed into hillside some 110km south east of Reims. Since then he had been sheltered by French families and the French Resistance escape networks could not get him back to England before the allied landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944.
Consequently he was a whole year living in occupied rural France before the American 3rd Army eventually reached the town where he was hiding. Evader is the story of those 12 months; of life in occupied France, the friendships made, tragedies witnessed, the tensions of ‘living with the enemy’ and even at times almost a normal life bringing in the harvest with French farmers as the Allied armies got ever closer.
Thomas Denys Gordon Teare was born in Liverpool, his father J.G. Teare was a village school headmaster and had received official notification that his son was presumed dead as there had been no news of his whereabouts since the crash. In fact, and against all the odds, the whole crew of the Lancaster ‘S for Sugar’ survived the crash and the war but they didn’t meet up again until it was over. Denys later trained as a fireman and worked in Widnes before eventually settling in the Isle of Man.
If you’re wondering what book to buy the Teare in your life for Christmas or a birthday you could do worse than consider Evader by Denys Teare (Evader is published by Progress Press and available through on line retailers).