Sir Nicholas Young tells of his father’s fight for survival during the war
PUBLISHED: 16:48 02 July 2019
Picture: JON WILKINSON/PEN & SWORD BOOKS LTD.
Sir Nicholas Young, a former lawyer from Woodbridge in Suffolk, has written a book about his father’s escape from a POW camp after the D-Day battles.
Called 'Escaping with His Life: From Dunkirk to D-Day & Beyond', the story tells the harrowing tale of how his father Major Leslie Young, went on the run trying to escape the Nazis after being captured in Tunisia and taken to Italy.
After his father's death in 1986, Mr Young found a diary hidden in a bedside table and discovered his father had long held a secret about his time in the war.
As Mr Young explains: "My father never told me in any detail what he did in the war - and I never really asked."
Major Young hid in the Apennine Mountains and was helped by many brave Italians, two of whom tragically died for his cause, for the duration of six months.
His dramatic escape has now been documented by his own son who spent many hours tracking down former comrades and scouring through papers in the National Archive searching for the full story on this astonishing fight for survival.
Mr Young was astonished to find out about his father's truly brave battle.
He says: "Building up a picture of my father's varied and courageous wartime service was at odds with the quiet and peace-loving man I called 'Dad'."
Mr Young has himself led a varied career and spent many years campaigning for charities including Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire.
He went on to become Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support and then Chief Executive of The British Red Cross.
Mr Young discovered his niche for charity work after moving to East Anglia. He was knighted in 2000 for his services to cancer care.
In 2014 he stepped down as chief executive of both charities but he remains a charity trustee, adviser and consultant in his retirement.
Mr Young will be at a book launch which is being held at Bredfield Village Hall near Woodbridge on Thursday, July 4 beginning at 6.30pm.
Proceeds from the book will go towards the Monte San Martino Trust, which was set up by former POW's in Italy.