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By John Oliver, President, Historical Society

Submitted photo
Bill Rickman was only 19 years old when he enlisted to fight in World War II and just 21 when he flew over Germany on his fateful bombing raid!

When researching the past, it is always great to have a ‘first-person’ account. That is, when a person writes about his or her experiences growing up, or traveling, serving in a war or being part of any historical event.

We have few firsthand accounts from our past, but we do have some and they will be the focus of this month’s articles.

Our first such memoir is that of the late Bill Rickman, who served in World War II as a pilot and was shot down by German anti-aircraft fire (called ‘flak’). He wrote about that experience for a book published in 2008. The title of the book is “Flying Flak Alley” and refers to the narrow flight pattern for Allied bombers as they flew from their bases in England to drop bombs on Germany. The book is a collection of firsthand recollections of those bombing raids.

Get the rest of the story in this week’s Hartsville Vidette!