VIDEO - South Yorkshire bomber pilot’s tale of astonishing courage

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A man who survived 23 missions as a Lancaster bomber pilot during World War II has had his story documented in a new book.

Ninety-year-old Dick Starkey flew 22 missions through the bullet-riddled skies of Germany, dropping 200 tonnes of bombs during the four-month-long Battle of Berlin.

Former Lancaster pilot Dick Starkey at home in Royston, Barnsley, with a shell and part of his Lancaster which was shot down over Germany on March 30th 1944'Picture Dean Atkins

Former Lancaster pilot Dick Starkey at home in Royston, Barnsley, with a shell and part of his Lancaster which was shot down over Germany on March 30th 1944'Picture Dean Atkins

His plane was shot down on March 30 during the 1944 Nuremberg Raid - the RAF’s bloodiest night, in which 700 British pilots were killed.

He was pulled from the wreckage, which killed every other member of his crew, by a group of German villagers and sent to prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft III.

Seventy years on, the Barnsley man’s incredible story has been documented in ‘Red Line’ - a book by former Gulf War POW John Nichol. In Red Line, John pays tribute to the men who gave their lives in the historic raid and to those who managed to survive it.

John, who was himself captured and tortured by the Iraqis in 1991, conducted phone interviews with Dick and a number of other veterans and their family members to piece together the material for the book.

Former Lancaster pilot Dick Starkey at home in Royston, Barnsley, with parts of his Lancaster recovered from the crash site in Germany after he was shot down on march 30th 1944'Picture Dean Atkins

Former Lancaster pilot Dick Starkey at home in Royston, Barnsley, with parts of his Lancaster recovered from the crash site in Germany after he was shot down on march 30th 1944'Picture Dean Atkins

He said: “Dick and his crew were right at the heart of the action and his story is an astonishing one of courage and sacrifice.”

Dick, a former Carlton pit office worker, still has pieces of his beloved Lancaster bomber Queenie, given to him 50 years after the crash by the same German villagers who rescued him.

He told The Star: “I remember that night like it was yesterday - I didn’t expect to survive but, against all the odds, I did.”