I understand that Stephen Fry is writing the screenplay of the new film about "The Dambusters", which is being directed by Peter Jackson.
May I suggest that he and Mr. Jackson consider one or more possible sequels to this film, both based on the life of Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC., OM. (1917 - 1992),who was described by Nehru as:
"The greatest man I have met since Gandhi".
After an illustrious and heroic war-time career, some of which in command (post Guy Gibson) of 617 Squadron (The Dambusters), where he pioneered daring targeting methods, he devoted his peace-time years, together with his wife, Sue Ryder, to a vocation of caring for disabled people, founding The Leonard Cheshire Foundation, now the largest UK Charity in this field ("Cheshire Homes"). He was elevated to the Peerage in 1991 as Lord Cheshire of Woodhall and (after his death from motor neurone disease) was remembered by Her Majesty The Queen in her 1992 Christmas Message, as follows:
"Curiously enough, it was a sad event which did as much as anything in
1992 to help me put my own worries into perspective. Just before he
died, Leonard Cheshire came to see us with his fellow members of the
Order of Merit. By then, he was suffering from a drawn-out and terminal illness. He bore this with all the fortitude and cheerfulness to be expected of a holder of the Victoria Cross. However, what struck me more forcibly than his physical courage was the fact that he made no reference to his own illness but only to his hopes and plans to make life better for others. He embodied the message in those well-known lines: “Kindness in another's trouble; courage in one's own”."
Richard Morris wrote an excellent biography in 2000, entitled "Cheshire - The biography of Leonard Cheshire VC OM " [Viking - Penguin Group - ISBN 0-670-86736-7]. This book is essentially in two parts, the first giving a thrilling account of his WWII career, particularly as officer commanding 617 Squadron. Under his command, 617 Squadron went on to perfect the skills that they had learned under Guy Gibson. This led to some spectacular and daring raids
Feb. 1944 - LIMOGES - Cheshire in marking Lancaster, overflies factory to allow french workers to evacuate before factory destroyed
12th Feb. 1944 - ANTHEOR VIADUCT - Cheshire in marking Lancaster - extremely difficult - unsuccessful.
March 1944 - 617 acquire their own marking Mosquitoes.
25th April 1944 - MUNICH - Cheshire in Mosquito marks aiming point (Gestapo HQ) in daring vertical dive.
6th June 1944 - OPERATION OVERLORD decoy flights
8th June 1944 - SAUMUR - pinpont hit on railway tunnel.
14th June 1944 - LE HAVRE - Cheshire in Mosquito marks E-boat pens in first pass, against very heavy fire.
5th July 1944 - MIMOYEQUES (V3 bomber launch site)- Cheshire's 100th sortie (this time in Mustang).
Sept. 1944 - Cheshire awarded VC
9th August 1945 – NAGASAKI – Cheshire witness to 2nd A-bomb.
The second part of the book describes how Cheshire, using his war-time fame and contacts, found his vocation in life - caring for disabled people, initially in the UK, but subsequently, (in partnership with his wife, Sue Ryder), on a world-wide basis, including India.
The two parts of this book could become the basis for two absorbing, but very different, sequels to the "Dambusters" re-make.