War Veteran Fred Features in BBC Documentary with Gary Lineker
On Sunday 5th February, resident at Hawthorns Aldridge Care Home in Aldridge, Fred Mason, was featured in the BBC Documentary – Gary Lineker: My Grandad’s War. Gary’s grandfather served in the Second World War but never spoke of his experience. During the programme, Gary traces his grandfather’s time during the war and speaks with several veterans who served alongside him, including Fred.
Fred was 19 when he was first deployed, landing at Naples and going straight to the front line. He was part of the battles of Anzio, which lasted five months. Although they played a major role in achieving victory in World War II, these battles are often overlooked. The men and women of the allies on campaign in Italy are known as the ‘D-Day Dodgers’ as they missed the Normandy Landings on 6th June 1944.
Fred flew to Italy with his son to be interviewed by Gary as part of the documentary. Fred stated, “It was exciting, I had never done anything like that before, and I was ready for it, I suppose. Gary was great; he was a gentleman.”
Having revisited Anzio six times since the war, Fred has found the remains of the trenches and met farmers whose land was destroyed during the war. Fred is also in correspondence with his good friend and Military Historian and Author, Flint Whitlock, who asked Fred for help with a section of his book covering the Italian campaign.
Steve Baker, Well-being and Activities Co-ordinator at Hawthorns Aldridge, explained, “We have recorded the documentary on DVD and will be showing this in our cinema room to fellow residents, who have expressed their interest in watching. Fred is keen to be involved and chat about his experiences. We were thrilled to see him feature on the programme.”
Fred will celebrate his 99th birthday later this year. He enjoys painting and has created several landscape paintings during his time at the Hawthorns Aldridge.
Images are taken from BBC Documentary – Gary Lineker: My Grandad’s War