A Pateley Bridge WW2 veteran is finding himself in demand for interviews at the age of 96.
Norman Goostry, who started the war in the 41st Royal Tank Regiment after training in Otley and Knaresborough, was interviewed on tape by the Imperial War Museum recently.
After the Nidderdale Herald and Harrogate Advertiser printed Norman's wartime memories the other week, The Tank Museum in Dorset spotted the article online and got in touch to say they would like to make a filmed interview with Norman.
Still going strong 72 years after the end of the Second World War, Norman's exploits saw him serve throughout the entire duration of the war, driving Sherman and other tanks in North Africa, Sicily and Italy
Talking to his daughter Pam and friend Pete Cartner, he told his amazing story.
Born in Oldham in 1921, Norman served throughout the entire duration of the war, and drove Sherman and other tanks in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
Norman was 18 in the March of 1939.
On approaching El Alamein, they received their Sherman tanks, which whilst way superior to the Cruiser and Matilda, were, in Norman’s opinion, not a match for the German Tiger tanks.
Whilst they were in the assembly area near to El Alamein, Field Marshal Montgomery came to chat to them and spent half an hour sitting on Norman’s tank.
Norman remained with A Squadron and the Regiment became the 1st Scorpion Regiment, driving a Matilda Flail Tank, sweeping for mines.
During his time in North Africa his tank was attacked by Stukas whilst on his way to join the first army anti-aircraft crew.
When they got to Italy they moved across to B Squadron and the Regiment changed again to become 1 Assault Regiment after which they crewed Sherman Gun Tanks.
Moving through Sicily, to the toe of Italy, then heading North, they were involved in the Battle of Monte Cassino before heading for Rome and Naples.
They were crossing the River Poe when they heard over the radio that Germany had capitulated.
They were told to stop and stay where they were.
After a wait, they were given a map reference which took them to Valdarno, where Norman remembers the celebrations and the fireworks that night.
Norman alos remembers lighter moments..
He was lucky not to be put on a charge after one incident when a senior officer appropriated a piano that his unit had been using.
Norman stormed in and shouted at the officer, “I want my bloody piano back!”
He got away with it and even managed to retain his piano.
Norman still speaks of the generosity of the Americans and said he appreciated the K rations given to them, and on one occasion, after falling ill through the cold air blowing from the fan on the Sherman, he was given a US flying jacket, for which he was very grateful.
In Sicily, Norman was driving a Flail Tank when it hit a delayed action mine, and it exploded under the centre of the tank.
On another occasion in Italy, they came across an Italian wine store that had been abandoned with barrels of wine lying about.
His tank crew got a barrel of red and white onto the Flail tank’s front gantry, and connected rubber tubes to the interior of the Sherman!