- South West
£75 - £150
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Tony Aston is a retired, former Scotland Yard, police detective of 27 years experience who later carved a second career working alongside British Intelligence in countering potential state-sponsored espionage activity against the UK Defence Industry.
He is a member of The Security Institute and was awarded Fellowship in 2011.
He also belongs to both the Society of Authors and the Historical Writers Association.
Tony grew up in Redditch in the 1950s and 60s. His police career, however, meant that he moved around on a regular basis.
Tony has a passion for 20th century history, reflected in both of his current talks.
He was fortunate to have his childhood memoir, “Redditch – From the Chip Shop to the Batchley”, published in 2022. It tells the story of his growing up as a child in the Midlands during the 1950s and 60s.
Ongoing projects include a wartime fictional story about a German spy embedded in a British munitions factory during World War II and a military history account that links the finding, in 2009, of an old weathervane fashioned in the shape of a wartime Lancaster bomber, and the downing, with all souls lost, of Lancaster JB453 on 3rd January 1944 during the bombing of Berlin campaign.
Tony currently lives in Devon with his wife, Kay and Golden Doodle, Harvey. He has, however, never forgotten his roots and is an avid supporter of Birmingham City FC.
The Bomber and the Weathervane
This talk relates to a book Tony is currently writing. During 2021, the International Bomber Command Centre supported the dedication as a war memorial, of a weathervane, fashioned in the form of a Lancaster bomber, at the home of a close good friend in Herefordshire. The weathervane bore the serial number JB453 OL-F which was identified as a Pathfinder Lancaster III, based at RAF Wyton, lost as a result of enemy actions on the night of January 2/3 1944 during the Battle for Berlin bombing campaign. All crew members perished and are now buried at the 1939-1945 Commonwealth War Grave in Berlin.
Tony is very proud to have been asked to write the story.
The talk, which lasts for approximately one hour, tells the story of the weathervane, the extensive research carried out to identify of the crew, engagement with the crews’ descendants, Pathfinders squadron, The Battle for Berlin Campaign, the downing of JB453 together with details of the Luftwaffe pilot responsible, and the 2021 dedication event in Herefordshire. The talk also includes extracts from a recorded interview Tony carried out in early 2023 with a surviving member, now 98 years old, of the Pathfinder Squadron at RAF Wyton between 1943 and 1945. The talk is directed at those of all age groups with a general or specific interest in World War II, military history societies and those keen on hearing about RAF World War II campaigns.
Redditch - From the Chip Shop to the Batchley
Tony was born in 1953 in Redditch, Worcestershire at a time was Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and only a few months after the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Tony grew up there until he was sixteen years old. In this talk, which relates to the book of the same title published in 2022, he explores his memories of ordinary day-to-day life in the 1950s and 60s when the town, like hundreds of other towns and cities at that time, was striving to repair, rebuild and re-invent itself after World War II.
He recalls the demolition of the old town and the building of the new as well as his personal memories of Christmas, food and drink, currency, the big freeze of 1962/63, incidents and accidents, special people in his life, together with radio and television, all intertwined with significant national and international events.
The talk is directed at people who lived during those times, descendants who would like to hear about how their ancestors lived, and to younger people keen to learn of the social history surrounding life in the UK almost three-quarters of a century ago.