Heroes of The Blue Pencil: Richard Walker

Added about 8 years ago by Sacristy Press

In the third of a series of insights into David Lowther’s thrilling wartime novel The Blue Pencil, we are introduced to Roger Martin’s informer, Richard Walker.

Richard Walker was born in 1900 in a quiet West London suburb. He won a scholarship to his local Grammar School in 1911 and completed his studies at the end of the summer before the November Armistice was signed which brought the Great War to an end. Richard’s father was killed at Passchendaele in August 1917 and his mother died in the Spanish ’flu outbreak of 1919. Richard’s older sister had married and moved to Suffolk. Without parental or financial backing, Richard had no chance of going to university so he took employment as a clerk at a shipping company in the City.

In 1921, he was transferred to the company’s Hamburg office where he organised the export of German goods to other European countries, including Britain. During one of these transactions, he met London store manager Reg Martin with whose son Roger he was to share many adventures as the clouds of war spread over Europe in the late 1930s.

Richard met, fell in love with and married a beautiful Jewess called Inge in 1922. Their first son Paul was born a year later and a second, Michael, followed in 1924. The family prospered and they made many friends, amongst them Harry, a journalist who worked for the German Foreign Service and who played such an important role in Richard and Roger’s exploits a decade later.

The Walkers’ idyllic existence was shattered in 1933 when Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Soon the Nazis began to enact violent measures against the Jews. Inge, married to a foreign gentile, was not immediately threatened but, with the advent of the Nuremburg Laws in 1935, they decided to pack up and leave Germany. At Reg Martin’s suggestion, they bought a house in South-West London where Richard took a post in the large department store of which Reg was Manager.

Roger Martin, a young and ambitious journalist, met the Walker family and penned a ground breaking article in his newspaper about Germany’s dreadful treatment of their Jewish citizens. Meanwhile Richard became re-acquainted with Harry who had been posted to the German Embassy in London as Press Attaché but who had been dismissed soon after Hitler came to power for refusing to join the Nazi Party. Harry then bought a small art gallery in Bloomsbury and applied for British citizenship. But he had retained one vital contact in the German Embassy, a consular officer who detested Hitler and had joined the party as cover for his espionage activities.

As British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain courted Hitler in an effort to avoid war, Harry fed information to Richard which revealed Hitler’s true intentions. Richard passed these vital secrets to Roger who, with other journalists, mounted a campaign against Chamberlain’s controversial policy of appeasement. The PM, however, was not one to be denied and, using his acolytes and compliant members of the security services, does all he can to silence opposition to his policies. Roger finds himself threatened and later attacked and realises that, to continue on this path could threaten his liberty and even his life. Richard Walker and others persuade him to stand firm.

Richard Walker is a central character in the second novel in this series Two Families at War, to be published by Sacristy Press.

The Blue Pencil is available from Sacristy Press in paperback, hardback and e-book formats.


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