THIS WEEK IN 1991: John laughs off Iraqi jail ordeal

Married couple John and Helen as television viewers saw them
Married couple John and Helen as television viewers saw them
The junction of Southwick Hill Road and London Road, Cosham, with a tram passing over the  bridge. Not a traffic light to be seen. Picture: GA Tucker

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Freed prisoner of war Flt-Lt John Peters showed millions of television viewers how a sense of humour kept him going through his seven-week ordeal in an Iraqi jail.

Petersfield pilot Flt-Lt Peters joked and laughed with presenter Terry Wogan as he shared his elation at being home.

He was joined by his wife Helen and Tornado navigator Flt-Lt Adrian Nichol.

The two RAF officers showed no trace of the emotional or physical scars left by their captivity.

Flt-Lt Peters, aged 29, said: ‘The first thing I did on the way home was shave that beard off.’

Flt-Lt Nichol said on their release neither of them could stop talking and he joked: ‘We’re never flying together after last time.’

The two men ejected onto Iraqi territory during the first air attacks on the country.

Their bruised faces outraged British people when they were paraded on Iraqi television.

But for diplomatic reasons they were not allowed to talk about their capture or treatment live on-air.

Instead, they spoke of the joy at being released and laughed about their subsequent fame.

Flt-Lt Peters said the worst moment was being shot down but went on to joke with his friend about whose fault it was they were hit.

• Pictured: Married couple John and Helen as television viewers saw them.