Living History: A Tail End Charlie’s Story – Event Report

Last night (Thursday 14th June) we welcomed members of the community to St Andrew’s Hospice where we hosted an evening with Flight Sergeant H James Flowers.

We met Mr Flowers when he had cataract surgery at St Hugh’s recently and soon discovered that he was a rear gunner on the Lancaster bombers during the Second World War. Captivated by his story, we invited him to be our guest during an evening dedicated to his life.

During the evening Mr Flowers shared his story with a rapt audience, some of whom asked questions about his life and experiences during the war. He recalled daring deeds from his operations over various parts of Europe to scary takeoffs narrowly avoiding Lincoln Cathedral’s well-known spires.

Other highlights included his first enemy contact with a Messerschmitt 109 on his first “op”; witnessing mid-air collisions and enemy contact with the first ever jet engine fighter planes in general service, the Messerschmitt 262.

He also read excerpts from his book ‘A Tail End Charlie’s Story’, which several members of the audience later purchased. Mr. Flowers was pleased to have raised well over £100 in book sales that he is now able to donate to the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln.

Ashley Brown, Hospital Director at St Hugh’s, said: “Last night’s event was a great opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary life that Mr Flowers has led.

“I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for him as a young man going into war, but I’ve gained a greater understanding of the challenges he faced and sacrifices he made from hearing his story at first hand.

“It’s important that we continue to share memories like this so that future generations can appreciate our shared history. In the 70th anniversary year of the RAF, we felt that this event would capture the imagination of the local community and I was glad to see so many people attended to celebrate Mr Flowers.”

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St Hugh’s is a non-profit hospital, and we are part of a registered charity providing around 6,000 treatments per year in Grimsby to both private and NHS patients. We work very closely with the NHS to provide the highest level of healthcare which is free at the point of delivery.

We do not charge a premium for this service, which is cost-neutral for the NHS, and all our surplus is re-invested into our facilities and charitable causes. Our non-profit status allows us to provide access to the highest standards of care, safety and service while maintaining fair prices.