30 years ago, Geordie matlot John Mew was heading south on HMS Coventry as part of the British Task Force. He didn’t know then that his ship would be bombed and he plucked from the South Atlantic during the Falklands War. We knew him from his involvement with Ponteland Rugby Club in Northumberland where my husband Graeme played in the 1980s and 90s. When he was home on leave John would lead them in vigorous training and fitness sessions – with exacting Royal Navy standards!
After the Falklands conflict, John was generous in talking about his experiences and knowledge of the Navy when I was researching my novel, FOR LOVE & GLORY.
It is set in Wallsend on the River Tyne from where my husband’s family come. I have them to thank for much of the background information on this vibrant community where many of the world’s greatest ships were built. The Falklands material was inspired by veterans I’d read about – ordinary people who’d shown extraordinary courage – long after the short war was over and out of the news. But in particular, I’m indebted to our brave friend, John.
We met up recently to launch a new version of the novel. It’s now available as ebook for the first time. My daughter Amy is the model for the new cover!
These days it is John’s sons who are playing rugby for Ponteland – but I’m sure he can still teach them a thing or two about fitness!