North Yorks WW2 hero inspires BBC documentary

Hero - Tank driver Norman Goostry as a young man during the Second World War.
Hero - Tank driver Norman Goostry as a young man during the Second World War.

A genuine British WW2 war hero so impressed a visiting film crew in North Yorkshire, he's now to feature in a BBC documentary.

The story of how Second World War soldier Norman Goostry, 96, ended up in the limelight by accident is not straightforward

Now - Dales' WW2 tank driver Norman Goostry pictured recently at Pateley Bridge's 40s Weekend with his daughter Pam Hall.

Now - Dales' WW2 tank driver Norman Goostry pictured recently at Pateley Bridge's 40s Weekend with his daughter Pam Hall.

It all started when a film crew from True North, an award-winning TV film and video production company, visited Pateley Bridge during last year’s 40s Weekend.

The programme makers from Leeds were working on an episode of BBC TV's A1 - Britain’s Longest Road for broadcast this spring.

The idea was to film one of the exhibitors travelling to the event with a full-size Spitfire plane along the A1 from Derby to be displayed on the Nidderdale showground for the weekend.

The crew then decided to film some of the event itself and accidentally came across Norman.

Wartime comrades - Pateley Bridge's Norman Goostry with his comrades in the tank division during the Second World War.

Wartime comrades - Pateley Bridge's Norman Goostry with his comrades in the tank division during the Second World War.

The veteran ex-British army tank driver, who served throughout the entire duration of World War Two and drove Sherman and other tanks in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, was attending the 40s Weekend and still enjoying it at the age 96 when the True North team met him.

Chairman of 40s Weekeend organisers Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff said: “It seems the film crew were fascinated by Norman’s story.

“The footage they got on the day was so fantastic I’m told they’ve decided to give Pateley Bridge more time in the TV show when it’s screened than they planned.”

Norman's WW2 story

Norman was 18 in March 1939 when he joined the army. He drove Sherman and other tanks in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

During his time in North Africa fighting General Rommel's men his tank was attacked by Stukas whilst on his way to join the first army anti-aircraft crew.

On another occasion while he was in the assembly area near to El Alamein, Field Marshal Montgomery came to chat to Norman and his colleagues and spent half an hour sitting on Norman’s tank.

Norman also fought with British forces 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 at the end of the Second World War in 1945.

Film crew's boost for Pateley Bridge

In June 2011, True North won three prizes at the Royal Television Society Yorkshire Awards.

Their previous shows include Animal Frontline series for BBC One and Building The Dream series for More4.

Having featured on BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings show recorded on the Nidderdale Way with Clare Balding last year, Pateley is delighted to find itself starring in a BBC One TV documentary series.

Keith Tordoff said: “This is going to be fantastic coverage on BBC television for Pateley Bridge.

“Being screened in the spring of this year the timing of it will undoubtedly showcase what Pateley Bridge has to offer encouraging visitors to come along to this year’s event.”

This year's 40s Weekend in Pateley Bridge will take place on Saturday, July 28 and Sunday, July 29.