The Last Day of June
1934 - 1994
by Ted Bun
Publication Date: June 29th, 2020
Publisher: Edward Yeoman
Genre: Historical European Fiction
On the 30th June 1934, three young men stand on the brink of lifelong romances. Will they find happiness and success? The French farm labourer, the Cambridge student, the German Schoolboy? First, there was a hurdle to overcome, World War 2.
It was also the day Adolph Hitler eliminated opposition and challengers to his position as leader of the Nazi party. The Night of the Long Knives when the descent into war became inevitable.
Three narratives, each starting from an image inspired by a verse of the Al Stewart song ‘The Last Day of June 1934’ twist and cross over the years that follow.
The decades roll past: dangerous times, a time for loving, sad times, times of joy. A story of lives lived and enduring love.
A journey through the sixty years that saw Europe torn apart through warfare and rebuilt; from the viewpoints of three very different families!
30th June 1939
My Dearest Hélène
I’m so relieved to hear that Henri has been called up and I can now write to you more openly. How is our daughter? Does she look as beautiful as you? Is she looking forward to school? Does Henri still think she is his?
We have been moved forward to an airfield just behind the border, close to the town of Lens. The aircraft arrive on Monday, we will be working hard getting everything ready all weekend. Then, the patrolling will start. Our aircraft are tasked with supporting the infantry between Lille and Maubeuge. Hopefully, a squadron of Bréguet bombers will make the Bosch think twice before attacking.
Sadly, it looks highly unlikely that I will be able to help with the vines this summer. Even if the Germans surrender tomorrow, the army will take so long to organise sending us home, we won’t be home by Christmas in this war either!
Write to me soon, give our little girl a big hug from me.
The news of Henri going off to Toulouse, after being called up to his Infantry Division, was in the last letter I received from Hélène. I had been lucky, the man from l’Armée de L’Air was looking for strong men to manhandle bombs the day I arrived at the Recruiting Office in Béziers. I had avoided having to sit in a trench, armed with a rifle, while the enemy soldiers and tanks came straight at me.
I sealed the envelope and handed it to the orderly, the mail wagon was due to leave within the hour. I had been less than truthful with the news, we all had to be to avoid the censors and the discipline we would suffer if we told the full story.
Ted was born in London lived most of his life in the south of England. The expression “Ted of all trades, master of none,” could have been created for him. However, the diversity of experience is starting to pay off now.
After a lifetime of not knowing what to do, he decided to do something new. He decided to retire and Mrs Bun agreed that this was what they going to do. They spent two years searching before they found their little paradise in the South of France, and during the long evenings of the first winter, he flexed his typing finger. It had begun.