War hero Humphrey Phillips has become one of the UK’s oldest published authors – at the age of 97.
Former Flight Lieutenant Humphrey, who served in 103 Squadron and later 1656 Conversion Unit, began writing his war memoirs following the tragic passing of his wife Iris in 2003 after doctors said it would help him deal with his grief.
The incredible tale, A Thousand and One, tells of his time during the Second World War, where he flew in combat against the enemy and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal for bravery.
It also features the jaw-dropping moment when enemy fire riddled his Lancaster bomber, nearly killing the plane’s gunner and forcing an emergency landing after limping back to Britain.
Now, after more than a decade of work, which saw Humphrey complete the book at the Bupa care home in North London where he now lives, the story has finally been published.
Colleagues at the home even held a book launch where Humphrey signed copies for friends and family.
Humphrey said: “While I started writing in 2003, I suppose you could say the book’s been nearly 100 years in the making, so I’m really very proud to see the final product.
“I was fortunate enough to have been able to write nearly the whole book from memory, but I’d advise people to write their memories down as soon as possible.
“Even in a rough draft, it’s a great way of helping you preserve your memories.”