Thursday, 20 May 2010


Today would have been my grandfather's 110th birthday. Henry Nelson Heron was born in Downpatrick, County Down on this day in 1899 and lived through some of the most traumatic and amazing events in human history. He walked behind the plough horses as a child, saw steam replace the horses and then internal combustion engines replace those. He saw the first tentative flying machines and the ultimate in supersonic flight. And he saw men walk on the moon.

He died in July 1977 and I remember him fondly.

"Harry" Nelson-Heron, the hero of my books, shares his name and I gave him the birthdate of 20 May 1789 in order to bring him into the stories at the same age at which the real Henry Nelson Heron joined up to fight in the First World War. HNH was just 16 when he was almost killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and not much over 17 when he was made a Sergeant in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

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