WW2 Veteran and POW makes headlines after TV appearance

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The dramatic true story of Fergus Anckorn, the hero who inspired Britain’s Got Talent 2016 winner, magician Richard Jones, has been making headlines this week following Anckorn’s special appearance on the Saturday night talent show final, click here to watch the clip on YouTube.

Fergus served as a gunner during the Second World War and was captured by the Japanese after the Fall of Singapore. Before the war, Gus was a magician and throughout the war, entertained both fellow soldiers and Japanese guards with his tricks, which he believes helped to keep him alive throughout his captivity.

Richard Jones was inspired by Fergus’ remarkable story and the 97-year-old appeared on stage with him during his act. Read more in these articles from The Times, The Telegraph, and the Metro.

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Bristol Cathedral is hosting a new summer exhibition entitled ‘No News of Fred’ to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The exhibition traces the final days and hours of Bristol author Jacqueline Wadsworth’s great uncle, Fred Wood, through family photographs, letters, postcards and newspaper cuttings. Fred was a 19-year-old volunteer who was experiencing battle for the first time. He was one of the first to go ‘over the top’ on that fateful day, and also one of the first to die. Amidst the chaos of slaughter he disappeared forever, his body never found.

The free ‘No News of Fred’ exhibition runs until 31 August, full details available via the Bristol Cathedral website. On 18 August, Jacqueline will give a special talk about her journey through her family’s research. Book your tickets here. Jacqueline is the author of Letters From The Trenches and Bristol in the Great War.

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter (@SoldiersLetters) and read her blog.

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A launch event for the Great War diaries of Jim Maultsaid, War! Hellish War – 1916-1918!, will be held on Friday, 3 June at the Ulster Museum. There will be a talk by military historian, Richard Doherty and Maultsaid’s granddaughter and editor of the book, Barbara McClune, will be in attendance.

Jim Maultsaid was born in Pennsylvania in 1893 to Irish parents who returned to Donegal. Although an American citizen he joined the British Army in 1914. He was badly wounded on the First Day of the Somme (1 July 1916). War! Hellish War! – 1916-1918 is the second volume of the Maultsaid diaries to be published by Pen & Sword, Star Shell Reflections – 1914-1916 is also available.

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