Dunkirk veteran Les Wilson aims to join fellow ex-servicemen in Spalding’s commemorations this year to mark the outbreak of the First World War.
His father, John Joseph Wilson MBE, survived the trenches, returned home to Spalding and served the town as a councillor before his death in 1951.
But his wartime service is almost a complete mystery.
Les (92) said: “He was in France, that’s all I know. He never said much about it and I never tried to find out.”
Holding a photograph of his dad, who was known as Joe, Les said: “This is the only thing I have.”
Les would love to know more now, but the photograph is too hazy to properly identify Joe’s cap badge – the best guess is The Royal Engineers – and Les doesn’t have his Army number, making his wartime record virtually impossible to trace.
Les was one of four brothers who went to war – he fought alongside his brother, Stan, in The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment – but one brother, Colin, was shot down over France in 1944 while serving as a Flight Sergeant engineer on Halifax Bombers. Les went to France in 2000 to see his grave.
Les rarely speaks of the wartime horrors he witnessed unless talking with fellow vets.
He rose to the rank of sergeant, but says: “It’s not a question of how long it takes, it depends on how many NCOs have been killed.”
Les says Remembrance is vitally important so we honour those who gave their lives for our freedom and so we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.