Cy’s flying days were short-lived, however ~ he and his Canadian/British crewmates were shot down over Holland in 1943, on only their third mission. Two were killed and the rest became prisoners of war.
A member of the RAF of indeterminate race is the translation of a sardonic caption that appeared under Cy’s photograph in a German newspaper shortly after his capture by the SS ~ evidently sneering at the deployment of coloured aircrew by the RAF.
For Cy, who is quick to affirm that he experienced no racial discrimination from any of his RAF comrades, it was a timely reminder of what he was fighting for.
What followed for Cy was an uncomfortable two-year period as a prisoner of war ~ spent mostly at Stalag Luft 3, Sagan ~ a gruelling ordeal made bearable by the good-natured companionship of his fellow POWs. As the war neared its end, he and his comrades faced a final test ~ a succession of fatiguing route marches in freezing conditions ~ intended to delay their liberation by the advancing Allied armies. They were eventually freed by the Americans in 1945.
Cy’s memories of his eventful RAF years ~ narrated with modesty, charm and good humour – make for compelling and educational reading.