'˜My father's wartime buddy was a former Star printer'

He is a quiet hero who does not to speak much of his wartime bravery.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 9:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 10:39 am
Vic Jay, 69, holding a copy of his self-published title 'The Mallon Crew'
Vic Jay, 69, holding a copy of his self-published title 'The Mallon Crew'

But now a the Second World war story of a former printer at The Star is being told.

Charles Green, aged 95, printed the paper at our York Street offices after he was de-mobbed after the war. But now it is his name in print after the son of one of his Lancaster bomber crew mates told the story of their war.

Charles Green in 1944 at R.A.F. Leeming

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And Charles stunned the author of a WW2 book by getting in touch with him after hearing of his project.

Charles Green, 95, is one of a dwindling number of WW2 survivors that author Vic Jay was amazed to hear from after spending four years researching his book.

He said: “It started out as a blog, it was to document my father Bob’s time in pilot Bill Mannon’s Lancaster Bomber crew.

“As the information kept snowballing, I decided to write a book, and after nearly four years of research I received an email saying Charles Green would like to get in touch.”

Charles Green in 1944 at R.A.F. Leeming

Charles served as a mid upper gunner on several operations with ‘The Mallon Crew’.

Vic planned to mention him briefly in the book as ‘the 8th member’ but had no idea Charles was still alive. He is the only surviving crew member.

He said: “He was articulate, his memory was excellent and he left me reflecting on what my dad’s premature death had denied me.”

Charles, originally from Peckham, met his wife Marjorie in the RAF. She was from Dore so that is where the couple settled after the war.

He has fond memories of his time in Sheffield.

He said: “We lived in a little cottage. It was donkey’s years old. The walls would start crumbling if you tried to wallpaper them.”

The Hare and Hound and The Devonshire Arms were Charles and Marjorie’s local pubs, establishments still going strong today.

“Is it still posh, right? It was posh when we lived there. It was only a small village then. It had a village green, and we used to ‘dress the well’ once a year.

“I enjoyed my time there definitely. We went to go dancing at the Town Hall and Ecclesall Co-op. You’d get the tram to Ecclesall and then the bus back to Dore.”

Charles said they spent a lot of time walking on the moors and through Bamford.

He also regularly attended Bramall Lane as an avid supporter of Sheffield United.

Charles worked as a printer at The Sheffield Star for around 13 years before moving to Blackpool in 1960.

“We had a good crew on the machines, a lot of good lads, it was brilliant. I was a machine minder. I don’t suppose any of them are still there now though, are they?”

“It’s great to be in a chapter of the book. Me and Vic had a good natter. I don’t like to make a fuss and go on about the war a lot though.”

Vic, a 69-year-old retired teacher from Pickering, North Yorkshire, said his book The Mallon Crew is ‘a series of human stories’, rather than a book about the ‘technology of the war’.

“It was amazing to speak to Charles, this chap is so with it, he actually bought us lunch when we went to the pub. His memories were crystal clear.”

“Now I want to pursue my research by going to New Zealand which is where Bill Mannon and the majority of the crew were from.”