Saint Roger's halo didn't slip when he gave me interview

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retro sept 2017

Peggy - Peggy Wood returning home after the courts decision

THIS WEEK IN 1983: Pensioner must go - Drayton spinster has to quit her home

Boys who became men when HMS Havant rescued thousands from Dunkirk

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While writing this article on Tuesday news came through that Roger Moore had died.

When filming Bullseye — a Michael Winner film about two conmen also starring Michael Caine — at Alton railway station in 1990, I met Moore.

I was editor of a railway magazine and went there to see what was going on for an article. While there I met Winner who was not happy.

He wanted a train to move up and down the platform. He had spoken to the driver in a most impolite way and the driver refused to move.

Winner explained what was going on and I said to him there were right and wrong ways of talking to people. He looked at me as if to say 'what I want, I get'.

I spoke to the driver, who I knew, and filming restarted.

Crossing the station footbridge Moore came towards me. I stopped him, told him who I was and asked him for a few words for the magazine. He was the perfect gent and agreed. I'm sure he is now with other real Saints.

n In 1957 Asian Flu hit Britain bringing the country to a near standstill. The effects usually lasted about 10 days.

HMS Ganges, the naval training school near Ipswich was badly hit with nearly half the 1,200 boys, aged 15 or 16, stricken. The first cases were reported on September 6 and reached a peak a week later. In all, 1,259 went down with it, 732 boys, the rest members of the ship’s company.

Trials of a new vaccine to protect against the strain were being conducted by the Medical Research Council since it struck in the Far East the previous winter. Boys from Ganges were asked to volunteer to be inoculated with the new drug. Sixty ‘volunteers’ came forward.

Blood samples showed an encouraging response and efforts from the boys may have succeeded in producing protection from the worst of the virus.

Most of the boys would now be 75 or older and I wonder if there is anyone in the area involved in these trials and if there were any side-effects?

n Ever wished you knew someone before they died? That's how I felt when I read that Vice Admiral Dick Wildish had died. He lived at Petersfield.

Wildish was serving in HMS Prince of Wales as an engineering lieutenant when she was involved in the Battle of the Denmark Strait on May 24, 1941.

The Prince of Wales was hit seven times and retired from the battle only for Wildish to find out the battlecruiser HMS Hood had been sunk with the loss of all but three of her company.

On arriving at Rosyth an inspection by Wildish found a 15in shell was lodged in the bilge. It was removed and the ship survived.

On December 10, 1941, Prince of Wales was once again in action being bombed by the Japanese off Malaya. She was struck by a torpedo causing much damage seven decks below, smashing oil and fuel pipes. Wildish and his sailors managed to stop the flow and he followed his men to the upper deck.

There, while downing a deserved tot of rum given by the chaplain and being just 20ft from the casualty clearing station, a 1,200lb Japanese bomb exploded causing carnage among the hundreds of sailors gathered there. Wildish suffered burns and shrapnel wounds. He was guided to a raft and drifted away only to see his ship sink two hours later. The battlecruiser HMS Repulse was also lost in the same engagement.

Dick Wildish married his sweetheart Leslie on June 11, 1941. After a short honeymoon he did not see his wife again until January 1944.

He retired from the navy in 1972 and settled in Petersfield running a small vineyard. He died recently aged 102.

As I said, if only I had known he was still with us I would have loved to interview him. If you know someone of the same ilk, do get in touch before it is too late.