Kettering librarian starts new chapter as war stories published

Her new book was released this month

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 7:00 am

A school librarian who lives in Kettering has gone back in time to publish a series of short stories about flying in the Second World War.

Jacqueline Puchtler's book 'World War II Flying Stories' was released this month after being published by Cranthorpe Millner.

It features seven stories written from the perspectives of different individuals, with Jacqueline concentrating on characters who were often disregarded.

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Jacqueline and her new book.

Stories include those about the mother of a pilot, the experiences of an Afro-Caribbean Pathfinder, a German ace who is fearful for the life of his younger brother and even the plight of a courier pigeon.

Jacqueline, who works at Weavers Academy in Wellingborough, said: “I’ve met and heard of many fascinating characters in the world of aviation and there is a romanticism about

the subject that demands attention.

"The generation of young people involved in aviation during the Second World War was a brave and selfless one and writing about this period and their contribution, albeit in fictional terms, has been a labour of love."

Jacqueline with Kettering veteran Reg Payne.

Books run in Jacqueline's family - her mum had a couple published and her nephew is a publisher.

The book is her second to be published after The Candle People, which is about an artist who purports to be the reincarnation of the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya.

Jacqueline's interest in flying began when she lived in California in her early twenties. There she was introduced to the Mojave Desert from an aerial perspective in a friend’s battered Cessna, ‘that shook and shimmied its way over the desert'.

She later married a military pilot based at George Air Force Base and eventually moved to Nordrhein-Westfalen. Her interest in flying was rekindled in recent years after enjoying some aerobatics in a Tiger Moth.

The author in a Tiger Moth

One of the stories in Jacqueline's new book is based on the life of Kettering veteran Reg Payne.

Reg survived being a wireless operator on a Lancaster bomber during the war. He will be 99 next year and is also an artist. He painted First Wave, which is on the book's cover.

The story Corkscrew Port Go originated from an incident in Reg's war-time diaries and conveys the kind of relentless perils bomber command were exposed to.

Jacqueline said it was great to meet Reg to discuss his war-time stories.

She said: "He still has a twinkle in his blue eyes and sitting with him on a bench in the sunshine, watching the planes pass overhead, it struck me how lucky we are and what a great debt we owe to people like him, many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice."

The book can be bought here. Ten per cent the author's proceeds will go to the Royal British Legion.