Military Life
This Is Your Life Military Life feature
Yvonne Bailey This Is Your Life Yvonne Bailey This Is Your Life Yvonne BAILEY

25 September 1955

For the show's first regular edition Eamonn surprised Yvonne in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
During the Second World War Yvonne joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force as a clerk, and later became an agent for the Special Operations Executive. In March 1944, Yvonne became the youngest female agent to be parachuted into France.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Hugh Oloff DE WET

8 April 1956

Hugh was studying art in Prague at the outbreak of the Second World War, when he was signed up as a secret agent in the employ of France. However, he was arrested by the Gestapo and held in solitary confinement for six years - four years under sentence of death.
Eamonn surprised him at the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
Robert Stanford Tuck This Is Your Life Robert Stanford Tuck This Is Your Life Robert Roland STANFORD TUCK

6 May 1956

The Royal Air Force fighter pilot - one of the greatest fighter aces of the Second World War - was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre.
Robert was captured by the Germans in 1942 and spent two years in Stalag Luft III as a prisoner of war before successfully escaping in 1945.

     
     
  Colin Hodgkinson Tuck This Is Your Life Colin HODGKINSON

7 October 1957

The Royal Air Force pilot and double amputee was surprised by Eamonn after being brought to the BBC Television Theatre from a nearby pub.
Among those greeting Colin - who despite losing both his legs in a flying accident went on to become a Flight Commander with 501 Squadron - is fellow Royal Air Force officer and fighter pilot Johnnie Johnson.

     
     
  Anne Brusselmans This Is Your Life Anne BRUSSELMANS

25 November 1957

Anne, a housewife from Brussels who was recruited to give shelter and help to Allied airmen who had baled out and were trying to return to Britain - was surprised by Eamonn backstage at the BBC Television Theatre.
Risking her own life on numerous occasions, Anne played a leading part in helping over 600 men return home through the Comet Line evacuation network.

     
     
  David Bell This Is Your Life David BELL

30 December 1957

David was serving with the Royal Engineers in the North African campaign when he was wounded ahead of the Battle of Knightsbridge outside Tobruk and lost both his hands and sight. Eamonn surprised him as a car he was travelling in was driven onto the stage of the BBC Television Theatre, where he thought he was due to play a small part in a film for St Dunstans.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Gordon STEELE

20 January 1958

The Naval officer who served in both the First and Second World Wars was surprised by Eamonn in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.
Between the wars, Gordon volunteered for service in the Baltic and in 1919 was awarded a Victoria Cross for his part in the action against enemy battleships in Kronstadt Harbour, Russia.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Francis CAMMAERTS

28 April 1958

The teacher - who Eamonn surprised at the BBC Television Theatre - initially registered as a conscientious objector at the outbreak of the Second World War, but after his views changed, he joined the SOE and became an outstanding resistance agent in German-occupied France, commanding, at one point, over 200,000 armed underground fighters.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Jo CAPKA

29 September 1958

A pilot in the Czechoslovak Air Force, Jo fled his country following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. He eventually ended up in the UK and joined the RAF, was posted to the newly formed 311 (Czech) Bomber Squadron and was awarded the DFM after flying 56 bombing missions. Jo was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
Andrew Milbourne This Is Your Life Andrew Milbourne This Is Your Life Andrew MILBOURNE

13 October 1958

The Northumberland Fusilier paratrooper - who was severely wounded when a German bomb exploded directly in front of him during the Battle of Arnhem - was surprised by Eamonn at the stage door of the BBC Television Theatre.
Among those helping to tell Andrew's incredible story is RSM John Lord.

     
     
James Edward Wood This Is Your Life James Edward Wood This Is Your Life James Edward WOOD

10 November 1958

James, who served with the Durham Light Infantry for almost twenty years, fought in the Boer War in South Africa and saw action in the trenches at Ypres during the First World War. Eamonn surprised him in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre, and his tribute ended with a parade of soldiers wearing the battledress of various campaigns from the previous 100 years.

     
     
Margaret Rowena Jones This Is Your Life This Is Your Life Big Red Book Margaret Rowena JONES

17 November 1958

Margaret, a Cheshire housewife who volunteered as an ARP during the Second World War and consequently spent time in hospital after contracting tuberculosis, was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1941 for her bravery during the Liverpool blitz.
Eamonn surprised her at the BBC Television Theatre while she was on a tour of the studios.

     
     
Alfred Daniel Wintle This Is Your Life Alfred Daniel Wintle This Is Your Life Alfred Daniel WINTLE

19 January 1959

The military officer who served in both World Wars was surprised by Eamonn at Hay's Wharf on the banks of the river Thames in a rare pre-recorded pick-up. Alfred was awarded the Military Cross while serving with the 22nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery during the First World War, and later served as a military officer with the 1st The Royal Dragoons during the Second World War.

     
     
Hugh Llewelyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewelyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn GLYN HUGHES

9 March 1959

Eamonn surprised the retired military officer outside the BBC Television Theatre.
Brigadier Glyn Hughes, who served in both the First and the Second World Wars as a medical officer, was the first Allied Medical Officer to enter the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in 1945.

     
     
Alfred Southon This Is Your Life This Is Your Life Big Red Book Alfred SOUTHON

30 March 1959

Alfred, a Northumberland Fusilier during the Second World War, was a prisoner-of-war, who, having escaped in September 1943, went on to fight with the Italian Partisans before surviving an incredible and treacherous journey across the Alps.
Eamonn surprised him in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
John Lord This Is Your Life John Lord This Is Your Life John LORD

30 November 1959

The Regimental Sergeant Major - who was captured at Arnhem and imprisoned in Stalag XIB - was surprised by Eamonn at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in an ambitious pick-up requiring some top-level security.
This edition of This Is Your Life was the first time a reigning monarch had appeared 'live' on British television.

     
     
Robert Oldfield This Is Your Life Robert Oldfield This Is Your Life Robert OLDFIELD

4 January 1960

Eamonn surprised the former Royal Navy stoker in the foyer of the BBC Television Theatre.
Bob escaped several serious and life-threatening incidents during the Second World War - including the attack on HMS Ajax during the Battle of the River Plate and his incredible story was about to be told in a new book, The Man They Couldn't Kill.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Charles COWARD

24 October 1960

Surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre, Charles served with the 8th Reserve Regimental Royal Artillery during the Second World War.
Captured and interned in Auschwitz III, he sent coded messages back to the British authorities on the conditions in the camp and subsequently testified at the Nuremberg War Trials.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Helene JEANTY-RAVEN

7 November 1960

The Belgian-born housewife who became a resistance worker during the Second World War was surprised by Eamonn in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre. Helene spent several years in an asylum after feigning insanity to withhold the charge of the death penalty imposed on her husband, Paul, after the Germans discovered they were working with the resistance.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Bill HARTLEY

28 November 1960

Bill, a former interior decorator from Longsight, Manchester, became a Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officer during the Second World War and, by 1960, had tamed over 1,000 unexploded bombs.
Eamonn surprised him outside the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
  Ellen Martha Field This Is Your Life Ellen Martha FIELD

5 December 1960

Ellen was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre. After the fall of Hong Kong in December 1941, Ellen, a British national living in the region, avoided internment by claiming to be Irish and spent the remainder of the Second World War risking torture and death to provide humanitarian aid to the prisoners of war in Shamshuipo Camp.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Anthony DEANE-DRUMMOND

12 December 1960

Eamonn surprised the British Army Royal Corps of Signals officer as he arrived at the BBC Television Theatre.
During the Second World War, Anthony was captured by enemy forces three times but managed to escape each time. The final escape occurred after his involvement with Operation Market Garden at Arnhem.

     
     
  William Simpson This Is Your Life William SIMPSON

9 January 1961

Eamonn surprised the former Royal Air Force bomber pilot turned journalist at the BBC's Lime Grove Studios.
William was shot down over Luxembourg during a wartime flying mission and suffered disfiguring burns. He later became one of the 'Guinea Pigs' – a group of men treated by the pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe.

     
     
  Alastair Pearson This Is Your Life Alastair PEARSON

16 October 1961

Alastair - one of the most highly regarded and decorated soldiers of the Parachute Regiment and the British Army who served in the Second World War - was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre.
The actor Richard Todd was among those paying tribute.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Ronald MENDAY

20 November 1961

Ronald was surprised by Eamonn at Turner's Croft in Wallingford where, after the war, he had established a training camp for homeless boys.
The former Highland Light Infantry officer and ex-commando was active in Normandy during the Second World War, and had been awarded the Military Cross.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Harry DAY

27 November 1961

The former Royal Marine and Royal Air Force pilot spent time as a prisoner of war during the Second World War - interned in Stalag Luft III where he planned and organised the 'Great Escape' - and later acted as technical advisor for the Hollywood film of the same name!
Eamonn surprised him in London's Kensington Square.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Timothy John CAIN

18 December 1961

The Royal Navy commander and a survivor from the sinking of the destroyer HMS Electra was surprised by Eamonn at the Portsmouth Guildhall.

     
     
Tom Evans This Is Your Life Tom Evans This Is Your Life Tom EVANS

5 February 1962

Eamonn surprised the former Royal Navy officer outside the Two Brewers pub in Windsor.
As a prisoner-of-war in the Japanese Fukuoka Camp 2 outside Nagasaki, Tom briefly escaped the glare of the guards while working in the city's dockyards. He hid in a concrete shelter to have a cigarette, and miraculously survived the atom bomb that struck the city.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Kenneth COOKE

19 March 1962

Kenneth - a country gamekeeper - was surprised by Eamonn at Weston-Upon-Lizard in Shropshire.
As a ship's carpenter on-board the British Cargo Steamer SS Lulworth Hill, which was torpedoed and sunk by the Italian navy in March 1943, Kenneth was one of only two survivors who were rescued, having spent 50 days at sea on a raft.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Kenneth REVIS

9 October 1962

The former Royal Engineers bomb disposal officer was surprised by Eamonn outside the BBC Television Theatre. Kenneth joined the Royal Engineers at the outbreak of the Second World War, and was assigned to bomb disposal. In September 1943 he lost his sight when 13 mines exploded while he was attempting to diffuse them close to Brighton's West Pier.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Robert MCINTOSH

20 November 1962

Robert was an Army despatch rider on the battlefields of Flanders during the First World War, before joining the newly formed Royal Flying Corps. After the war he gained his civil pilot's licence and became a pioneer of civil aviation.
Eamonn surprised him outside the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book George CUMMINS

5 February 1963

The former British Army Officer, who fought with the Royal Artillery during the First World War, later trained as a newsreel cameraman and established British Paramount News in 1931.
Eamonn surprised him backstage at the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
  Sam Derry This Is Your Life Samuel DERRY

19 February 1963

The Royal Artillery Officer was surprised by Eamonn outside the BBC Television Theatre.
As an escaped prisoner-of-war, Sam ensured the safe passage to freedom of several thousands of British and American soldiers, who were stranded in the Italian countryside after escaping from German captivity.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Alice STERN

10 October 1963

The civilian survivor of the Nazi concentration camps was surprised by Eamonn outside the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Albert GUERISSE

28 November and 5 December 1963

The Belgian Resistance fighter, who working with a British Navy special operations unit organized escape routes for downed Allied pilots under the alias of 'Pat O'Leary', became the first This Is Your Life subject whose life story was told over two editions when he was surprised by Eamonn in the audience at the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
  This Is Your Life Big Red Book Frederick Spencer CHAPMAN

2 and 9 January 1964

And the second subject to have his life story told over two consecutive editions was the former British Army Officer who was stationed behind Japanese lines in the jungles of Malaya during the Second World War.
He was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Theatre.

     
     
Bill Griffiths This Is Your Life Bill Griffiths This Is Your Life Bill GRIFFITHS

22 November 1972

The former Royal Air Force truck driver - who was blinded and left without hands following an explosion in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War, but went on to become an award winning sportsman - was surprised by Eamonn during a POW reunion at the Clive Hotel in Hampstead, London.
Among those paying tribute to Bill is boxer Henry Cooper.

     
     
Pat Reid This Is Your Life Pat Reid This Is Your Life Pat REID

21 February 1973

The British Army officer - who escaped from the notorious Colditz Castle during the Second World War as a prisoner of war - was surprised by Eamonn outside London's Europa Hotel.
After the war, Pat wrote about his experiences in two best-selling books, which became the basis of a film, a television series and even a board game!

     
     
William Coles This Is Your Life William Coles This Is Your Life William COLES

23 January 1974

Eamonn travelled to RAF Northolt to surprise the son of a village grocer who rose from RAF fighter pilot to the rank of Air Marshal. During the Second World War William took command of No. 117 and No. 233 Squadrons, both of which were heavily involved in the Battle of Arnhem, and later was a member of the RAF bobsleigh team in the 1948 Olympics.

     
     
John Frost This Is Your Life John Frost This Is Your Life John FROST

6 April 1977

The Army officer - best known for his involvement in the Battle of Arnhem during Operation Market Garden, where his battalion held the road bridge against overwhelming odds - was surprised by Eamonn at Twickenham Film Studios, while viewing footage of Richard Attenborough's film A Bridge Too Far, in which he is portrayed by actor Anthony Hopkins.

     
     
Louis Mountbatten This Is Your Life Louis Mountbatten This Is Your Life Louis MOUNTBATTEN

27 April 1977

The statesman and naval officer - and first member of the British Royal family to feature as the subject - was surprised by Eamonn in the foyer of Thames Television's Euston Road Studios. The programme - the first ever hour long edition, and the first to include a commerical break - includes tributes from Vera Lynn, Bob Hope and John Mills.

     
     
Lord Lovat This Is Your Life Lord Lovat This Is Your Life Lord LOVAT

7 February 1979

Brigadier Simon Fraser - the 25th Chief of the Clan Fraser and the 17th Lord Lovat - was surprised by Eamonn in central London.
Lovat was involved in several important operations during the Second World War, and as commander of the 1st Special Service Brigade, he was involved in the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

     
     
Mike Tetley This Is Your Life Mike Tetley This Is Your Life Mike TETLEY

16 April 1980

The ex-serviceman - who was blinded in battle yet later became a successful physiotherapist - was surprised by Eamonn in central London.
Mike - who was born and raised in Kenya - was conscripted to command indigenous troops in the King's African Rifles, as Kenyan rebels - known as the Mau Mau - revolted against British colonial rule.

     
     
Douglas Bader This Is Your Life Douglas Bader This Is Your Life Douglas BADER

31 March 1982

Eamonn surprised the Second World War Royal Air Force flying ace - for an end of series extended edition - during a reception at New Zealand House in London.
Fellow RAF pilots Johnnie Johnson and Robert Stanford Tuck pay tribute, while Eamonn reads a message from HRH Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

     
     
Laddie Lucas This Is Your Life Laddie Lucas This Is Your Life Laddie LUCAS

11 April 1984

Eamonn surprised the former Royal Air Force Officer at London's Park Lane Hotel.
At the age of just twenty-six Laddie led the top-scoring 249 Squadron during the Battle of Malta. After the war he served for nine years as a Conservative MP for Brentford and Chiswick and later wrote numerous bestselling books based on his exemplary war service.

     
     
Fitzroy Maclean This Is Your Life Fitzroy Maclean This Is Your Life Fitzroy MACLEAN

12 December 1984

Eamonn surprised the politician and former soldier at Teddington Studios with the help of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Maclean was Conservative MP for Bute and North Ayrshire between 1959 and 1974. Previously a diplomat, he became one of the few people who entered the Second World War as a private and left having risen to the rank of Brigadier.

     
     
Lord Harewood This Is Your Life Lord Harewood This Is Your Life Lord HAREWOOD

27 February 1985

The opera lover - and Queen's cousin - was surprised by Eamonn during a drinks reception at the Coliseum in London, home of the English National Opera.
As a captain with the Grenadier Guards, George Lascelles fought in Algeria and Italy before being captured by the Germans who held him as a prisoner-of-war in the notorious Colditz.

     
     
Colonel H J Sweeney This Is Your Life Colonel H J Sweeney This Is Your Life Henry John SWEENEY

20 March 1985

The platoon commander tasked to seize two vital bridges before the main assault on the Normandy beaches during D-Day, later became the managing director of Battersea Dogs Home - which is where Eamonn surprised him. Among those paying tribute to Tod – as he was known - are Katie Boyle and Richard Todd.

     
     
Johnnie Johnson This Is Your Life Johnnie Johnson This Is Your Life Johnnie JOHNSON

8 May 1985

An end of series special - broadcast on the 40th anniversary of VE Day - sees Eamonn surprise Johnnie - the RAF's most outstanding fighter pilot of the Second World War - in London's Trafalgar Square.
Johnnie is treated to a flavour of wartime entertainment from Anne Shelton and the Herb Miller Orchestra.

     
     
Robert Foote This Is Your Life Robert Foote This Is Your Life Robert FOOTE

22 October 1986

As Commanding Officer of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment, Robert was awarded the Victoria Cross for outstanding courage and leadership during the Battle of Gazala in June 1942, during the Western Desert Campaign.
Eamonn surprised him at the Royal Armaments Research and Development Establishment, Chertsey - appropriately - in a tank!

     
     
Yvonne Cormeau This Is Your Life Yvonne Cormeau This Is Your Life Yvonne CORMEAU

8 November 1989

Michael surprised Yvonne during a photo shoot for the ITV drama series Wish Me Luck at the studios of London Weekend Television. The series was based on the exploits of British female undercover agents during the Second World War, something that Yvonne knew much about, having been a former active member of Britain's 'secret' army - the Special Operations Executive.

     
     
Simon Weston This Is Your Life Simon Weston This Is Your Life Simon WESTON

7 February 1990

The veteran of the British Army - who became well known for his recovery and charity work after suffering severe burn injuries during the Falklands War - was surprised by Michael at the Welsh Guards headquarters at Pirbright in Surrey.
Tributes include a recorded message from racing driver Jackie Stewart and a letter from HRH Prince Andrew.

     
     
Tom Gleave This Is Your Life Tom Gleave This Is Your Life Tom GLEAVE

9 January 1991

The Royal Air Force fighter pilot - who was shot down during the Battle of Britain, and grievously burned - was surprised by Michael at the RAF Museum in Duxford. Tom's injuries were treated by pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe in East Grinstead, and his tribute was timed to coincide with the Golden Jubilee of 'the Guinea Pig Club'.

     
     
Michael Graydon This Is Your Life Michael Graydon This Is Your Life Michael GRAYDON

19 January 1994

In the 75th year of the Royal Air Force, the incumbent Chief of the Air Staff was surprised by Michael at RAF Halton, where the programme was then recorded.
The former pilot and squadron commander was reunited with many old colleagues, and his tribute includes a letter from Her Majesty the Queen.

     
     
Ivor Broom This Is Your Life Ivor Broom This Is Your Life Ivor BROOM

26 April 1995

Michael surprised Ivor - a Second World War Sergeant pilot, who rose through the ranks to become Air Marshal - at St Clement Dane Church in London's Fleet Street.
Ivor's tribute is timed to coincide with the 77th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

     
     
Johnny Cooper This Is Your Life Johnny Cooper This Is Your Life John Murdoch COOPER

18 October 1995

Johnny - a sergeant, officer and founding member of the Special Air Service – was surprised by Michael on an army assault course.
Among those paying tribute are politician and former soldier Fitzroy Maclean and adventurer and explorer Ranulph Fiennes.

     
     
John Rands This Is Your Life John Rands This Is Your Life John RANDS

1 November 1996

Having joined the Red Arrows in 1986 following his Royal Air Force training, John became squadron leader of the aerobatics display team in 1994.
He was surprised by Michael at RAF Cranwell where his programme was then recorded. Sir Michael Graydon pays tribute and our host reads a letter from HRH Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

     

* the pre-1970 subjects were surprised by a different coloured book - see the Big Red Book feature for full details