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Hartlepool author searches for stirring RAF tales for new book

Author June Markwell researching information for her new book. Picture by FRANK REID
Author June Markwell researching information for her new book. Picture by FRANK REID

A Hartlepool author hopes to uncover fascinating stories of townspeople with connections to the RAF for a new book.

Retired teacher June Markwell, who has written 30 local history books, is working on a new title as the Royal Air Force celebrates its 100 year anniversary.

Research material used by author June Markwell for her new book. Picture by FRANK REID

Research material used by author June Markwell for her new book. Picture by FRANK REID

She wants to feature little-known local personnel and stories of people who have served in the RAF, especially more recent tales.

June, from Seaton Carew, last wrote about the RAF in 2003 when she focussed on town man Aubrey Lancaster who took part in the real Great Escape that inspired the classic film.

She said: “As it’s the centenary this year of the RAF, I’m revising it completely and I’m adding other things to it.

“I have got all the names from my work on the war memorial in the 1990s of RAF personnel who were killed in the war.

Research material used by author June Markwell for her new book. Picture by FRANK REID

Research material used by author June Markwell for her new book. Picture by FRANK REID

“I have gone back to them and dug them out. There are some exciting stories of people who were prisoners of war and people who were awarded distinguished flying crosses.

“I’m also looking for stories of men and women who served in the RAF after the war and in recent conflicts as I think younger people need to have some reference and see the work of the RAF is still ongoing.” Another person set to feature in the as yet untitled book is Sir Peter Horsley, an air chief marshall who was born in West Hartlepool and went on to become personal attendant to Prince Philip from 1949 to 1956.

Dorothy Robson, from Hartlepool, nicknamed Bomb Sight Bertha by the RAF for her expertise in the field of bomb aiming will also be included.

June has previously written books about Seaton churches and schools, the RNLI and North East shipping casualties.

Research material used by author June Markwell for her new book. Picture by FRANK REID

Research material used by author June Markwell for her new book. Picture by FRANK REID

She added: “I’m trying to highlight all the people who are really worthwhile and all the Hartlepool people with RAF connections.

“Hartlepool tends to get bad publicity but I want to show there are lots of lovely things as well.”

Anyone who wants to get in contact with June can do so by emailing her on junemarkwell5@hotmail.co.uk