HE’S already tracked down the family of one Sheffield hero – now a French historian is trying to find another city veteran who took part in one of the Second World War’s defining moments.
Nicolas Bucourt is writing a book about the daredevil Bruneval Raid, an operation in which just 200 elite British soldiers parachuted behind enemy lines and swiped vital radar technology.
The Boys Own style manoeuvre in 1942 is credited with changing the course of the conflict by giving the allies vital air supremacy.
And after Nicolas’s initial research found one of those 200 parachutists was from Sheffield – Gerald Strachan, whose family still live here – the scholar has now uncovered evidence which suggests a second city man was also among the elite.
“Tommy Hill was a corporal in the 2nd Parachute Battalion,” says the 26-year-old. “We don’t know much about his background, other than he was from Sheffield.”
During the raid Tommy – whose picture here is taken from a 1990s documentary about the operation – was part of a team whose mission was to secure the nearby north French beach so, once another team had stolen the radar, the 200 troops could escape by sea to Britain.
Gerald Strachan’s family were traced after a similar appeal in The Diary. His family, including daughter Sandra Trigg and son also Gerald Strachan, still live in Deep Pit and The Manor.
Nicolas is writing a book about the operation, with mini biographies of all who took part, to mark its 70th anniversary.
Anyone with information about Tommy Hill is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org