Express & Star

Echoes of the past in debut book from Bridgnorth author

A Shropshire author has released his debut novel telling the story of a dying soldier’s final wishes from 1944 Normandy.

Andrew Bullas with his debut novel Charlie Echo

Andrew Bullas, from Alveley near Bridgnorth, used his experience of more than 13 years working for the film and video archives at the Imperial War Museum to write Charlie Echo.

The 57-year-old’s book details the events of radio operator Charlie Goodman and his assistant, Sid Saunders, who are the only ones to hear the dying wishes of a fellow soldier.

Unfortunately, in the confusion that follows, Charlie fails to ascertain the full identity of the officer and returns to England plagued by trauma and remorse.

It falls to Saunders to break the impasse by getting his comrade to repair a radio telephone, just like the one they were using in France.

What he doesn’t anticipate is that working on the set will prompt Charlie to not only hear the mystery soldier’s voice again, but to see him too.

Andrew, who found “the need” to write during his time on furlough at The Royal Oak pub in Alveley, said despite the setting of the story, comedy played a prominent part.

“For a number of years, I worked for the film and video archive of the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, near Cambridge,” he said.

“For the most part the job revolved around film preservation.

“However, sitting alone watching reel after reel of mostly black and white silent footage, one couldn’t help wondering what the people captured in those moving pictures were talking about at that particular moment, and then, inevitably, what they might say if they could speak to us in there here and now.”

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