War veteran, 101, books out of hospital for memoir launch

William Earl with author Liz Coward
William Earl with author Liz Coward

A 101-year-old Shoreham war veteran has recovered from major surgery and left his hospital bed just in time for the publication of his life memoirs.

William Earl, of Feversham Close, Shoreham Beach, had been preparing for his upcoming book launch when he broke his hip and had it replaced.

William Early, aged 101, at home in Shoreham with his medals

William Early, aged 101, at home in Shoreham with his medals

After a five-week stay in hospital, he has returned home and is keener than ever to share his experiences of serving in the field ambulance during the Second World War.

William, who has lived in Shoreham for more than 50 years, said: “I was absolutely determined that I would make a good recovery and be up and about to see the publication of my book.

“It was tough being in hospital knowing that the book launch was imminent and that time was marching on.

“But sheer grit and determination have paid off and it will be a proud moment when our book is published and I see the realisation of my dream.”

It will be a proud moment when our book is published and I see the realisation of my dream

William Earl

Blood and bandages: fighting for life in a RAMC Field Ambulance 1940 to 1946 is the result of seven years’ collaborative work with his neighbour, the author Liz Coward, who lives with her husband, Richard, and 11-year-old son, Tom, in Falcon Close.

William was 25 when he signed up with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Newly in love, he left his wife, Mary, and baby, David, to play a key role on the battlefields of North Africa and Europe, carrying out ‘dangerous work in extreme circumstances’ in which many of his comrades were killed.

More than 150 people are expected to attend the book launch in Shoreham on Friday, April 28, at 6pm at the Shoreham Centre.

Bill, his wife Mary and their two-month-year-old baby David in July 1942. Bill left for overseas a month later. The next time he saw David, his son was four years old

Bill, his wife Mary and their two-month-year-old baby David in July 1942. Bill left for overseas a month later. The next time he saw David, his son was four years old

Actors Sandra Clark and Paul Moriarty, who have both appeared in Eastenders, will perform dramatic readings, followed by a Q&A session with William and Liz.

Liz said she was ‘very much’ looking forward to the launch, and said: “It’s the end of a hugely long process.”

She hopes the book will be ‘a huge success’, she said: “Not just for William or for me, but for the sake of the men mentioned in it, particularly those from the much-overlooked Italian campaign.

“It would be nice to bring them to the forefront again.”

The book is available for order here on Amazon.co.uk

Read an extract of the book here

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