About two years ago now I watched a documentary on Channel 4 called: The Dambusters’ Great Escape. It was utterly compelling and well worth a look. The programme explored how, finally, the great Nazi warship was destroyed. Here’s a link to a clip – take a look.
I found it fascinating to watch these men relive their experiences. And I began to wonder if they suffered any sense of guilt or remorse. That maybe they did but they never discussed it? Because after all, they had simply been doing their job? I also started to think about how I might have viewed these men before I watched the documentary had I seen them in my daily life. Would I have just seen ‘old men’ and not really considered the person behind the ageing facade?
But what really caught my attention was the story of a Norwegian man called Sander Pettersen. Sander, as a youngster, had worked in a German radar station during WW2 when Norway was under Nazi occupation. Here, he met a German officer whom Sander was certain helped bring about the destruction of Tirpitz – by witholding key information about the approaching British Lancaster bombers. What convinced him the German was working against his own people? A small silk Union Jack flag….hidden in his cigarette case. Now this really got me thinking…….