War hero in poignant reunion

By David Green

TWO former soldiers who played different roles in a dramatc wartime incident have been brought together for the first time by the EADT.
On October 25, 1944, tank wireless operator and gunner Alan King helped save the life of a pregnant Dutch woman trying to escape with her family from the middle of a fierce battle.
The escape was captured by Army photographer Peter Handford and the picture bas been published all over the world in the past 40 years.
It was only last year that both men realised they lived within a mile of each other neer Eye and yesterday the EADT brought them together for the first time.
Mr King, 61, left last night with his wife Nora to attend anniversary celebrations in 's-Hertogenbosch, the town which was the scene of the battle, and to meet members of the family he helped to save.
Mr Handford, who led something of a charmed life as a front-line war photographer, was also invited to take part, but a working trip to Los Angeles later this week meant that he to refuse.
At the height of the battle a young couple and their children were seen running between two British tanks in an attempt to escape being caught in crossfire.
Mr. King said, "The woman apparently fell at the back of the tank. I heard someone yelling for us to stop and I shouted to the driver.
"Fortunately, we stopped in time. Another few yards and we would have gone right over her."
At that same moment, a short distance away the shutter of Peter Handford's camera came down as the woman's husband shielded his two children beside one of the tanks.
Mr. Handford, then a lieutenant and now a professional sound recordist in the film industry, said, "I remember the incident vividly, but of course I had no idea who the family were or the identity of the men in the tanks."
During his stay in Holland Mr. King will be staying with, and meeting for the first time, the woman whose life he helped save, together with her nine children and 16 grandchildren.
Mr.Handford, who was traced by officials in the Dutch town through the Ministry of Defence, met the family last year during a trip to Holland.
He was able to talk to the two girls shown in his picture. Their father, the man in the picture, died some years ago.
Mr. King, a former member of the East Riding Yeomanry, has a regimental book, in which Mr. Handford's photo can be seen.

?, thuesday 22 October 1985