HISTORY lessons are so much better when taught by someone who can say, ‘I was there’.
And that’s what happened when former soldier Derrick Allsopp spent a day at City School, Sheffield.
The 90-year-old shared memories from his new book, Wheels Over Normandy, as part of a World War Two Studies Day.
It recounts his five years in the Army when he served as a member of the Buffs – the Royal East Kent Regiment – and how he went on to become a motorbike despatch rider zooming around France following the Normandy landings.
The launch was followed by a question-and-answer session.
Derrick, of Normanton Springs was a gunner first and then lance bombardier.
He captivated pupils as he described his part in the war.
A plumber in civilian life, he still recalls the day he joined up – January 8, 1942.
Clearer still are his memories of the day he landed on Gold Beach ‘with a sten gun around my neck, a crash helmet, and a box for my maps’.
“I have many memories but I never really spoke about them,” he said.
“Then my friend and neighbour Major Rich Taylor persuaded me to write them down.
“I’ve had a lot of help and I’m pleased to say the book is selling really well.”
Wheels Over Normandy, priced £5.50, can be purchased at City School, Lynz shop on Chapel Street, Woodhouse, The Strad pub on Stradbroke Drive, and the Manor Press, Normanton Springs.
Proceeds will go to local charities and also to forces charity Help for Heroes.