Did you hear about the squirrel that bombed Berlin during the Second World War?
Old friend Chris Marsden, chairman of Huddersfield Civic Society, sent me details of this intriguing story that were reported in the Sunday Pictorial on May 3, 1942.
The newspaper page he provided had several upbeat stories to raise morale during a time of blitz and bad war news.
Was the story propaganda or did it happen?
The report tells the tale of two squirrels who were found by children behind the British lines in France in the early part of the war.
They gave them to an RAF flight lieutenant who named the girl squirrel Fortnum and the boy squirrel Mason.
When the German advance got too close for comfort he took them with him back to Blighty.
Sadly, Mason never made it. He was apparently shot by an enemy bullet.
Fortnum was examined and declared fighting fit by RAF medics and flew on missions with the officer that included bombing Berlin.
The report says that when the flak started exploding during raids Fortnum snuggled into the flight lieutenant’s jacket.
The unnamed officer retired Fortnum and took her to live “in a country house at Almondbury, near Huddersfield.”
He continued to visit when on leave.
Chris says: “Denis, I think you are the man for this. Let’s have the full story.”
But does anyone know the full story? Who was the officer with the Almondbury connection and what happened to him and Fortnum the squirrel?