Helena Schrader's Historical Fiction

Dr. Helena P. Schrader is the winner of more than 20 literary accolades. For a complete list of her awards see: http://helenapschrader.com

For readers tired of clichés and cartoons, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers nuanced insight to historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The Characters of "Moral Fibre" - The Wireless Operator - Terry Tibble

  "Moral Fibre" is a novel about a Lancaster crew at war. Yes, Kit Moran, the "skipper" (pilot), is the principal character. Yet each member of his crew is a unique individual with his own backstory, personality, dreams and fears. Each contributes to the whole, both as a trained professional in his particular trade and also as an element that shapes the character of the crew as a whole. Today I introduce Terence "Terry" Tibble, the Wireless Operator or Signaler

Excerpt 1:

The sergeant was skinny though not short. His face was crooked, with a mouth full of too many teeth jumbled together and a long nose that bent in the middle, presumably from a break that had not been properly set. Everything about him screamed poverty , the nose hinting of scraps and brawls. Yet the dark framed glasses gave him an aura of vulnerability. Intuitively, Kit knew this was not the kid who picked fights; he was the kid others ganged up on.

The sergeant drew a deep breath, "Your crew said you were still short a wireless operator, sir."

"That's correct. Are you interested in the job?"

"Yes, sir. If you give me a chance you won't regret it, sir. It's true I can't see particularly well, but I don't need to for my job." It all spilled out at once as if he'd been practicing phrases in his mind. "It's because I'm half-blind that I've trained my ears, sir, and I'm very good with Morse, sir. Twenty-eight words a minute, thirty on a good day." He stopped apparently expecting this fact to impress.

It did. After all, Moran had never managed better than eight or nine words a minute. Forrester's warning rang in his ears though. Completely wet, the Australian had said. Nor was this sergeant the type of bloke Adrian and Stu would warm to. Still, Kit was reluctant to brush him off. "What's your name, Sergeant?"

"Tibble, sir. Terence Tibble. Been called 'Terry' as long as I can remember."  ...

Damn it! Kit thought. Terry reminded him of all the orphans his mother had 'adopted' over the years -- the abandoned children left to fend for themselves with one kind of handicap for another, but a hunger to learn. Kit liked a man who liked books, and if he didn't take Terry into his crew, he might wind up with a worse pilot and an even poorer chance at survival. Kit's problem was that he questioned whether Terry would get on with the others. Adrian and Stu were too posh, while Nigel was too cheeky.

Terry is in many regards the exact opposite of Adrian. A child of the slums who 'never had a Dad', dumped in an orphanage when his mother could no longer cope, he has no choice but to start earning a living at 14. At sixteen he is working in a paper mill. Far from being an imposition or unwelcome interruption to his life, the war is the gateway to opportunity and adventure. Terry volunteers for the RAF the moment he turns 17 and he cheats on his eye exams to get accepted. The RAF is an escape from the drudgery of his deadend past.

But Terry doesn't really fit in. He's an introvert by nature, who in his free time prefers to read in his room than spend money on alcohol and girls. When he's with his more gregarious colleagues, he pulls into his shell and hides behind a book. Yet he reads to expand his horizons -- to go places he's never been and learn about things he'd never hear of before. He's naturally curious and full of questions. Given the chance he learns fast, reflects on things and forms his own opinions -- characteristics that Kit rapidly learns to respect. Despite his youth (he's only 18 when the novel opens) Terry pulls more than his weight and Kit comes to rely on him.

Excerpt 2:

At Conwy Castle Terry surprised Kit by declaring, "I suppose Hitler will be remembered as one of Germany's greatest leaders."

"What on earth are you talking about? He's a madman."

"Yes, I suppose," Terry replied, weighing his head from side-to-side uneasily. 'But we think of Edward I as a great English king because he subdued Wales and Scotland, don't we? How's that different from what Hitler's done for Germany by conquering Poland and France and all the rest?

"In 1940, Hitler might have seemed great to the Germans, but we've got him on the run now. Germany is retreating from its occupied territories while we systematically destroy industrial and military capacity inside the Reich itself. By the time we've forced him to surrender, Hitler will be seen as one of the worst leaders Germany ever hand."

"So, everything depends on winning?" Terry pressed him. "If Hitler had won the war back in 1940 or 1942, he'd be called a great leader, but if he loses then he'll be declared a disaster?"

"Well, no," Kit countered, uncomfortable with that notion, "After all, more and more evidence is coming to light about terrible atrocities -- things worse and on a scale far beyond anything we saw in the last war. So, even if he had won the war, he's still be a murdering, racist madman!"

Then Kit had a second thought and with a sheepish grin he admitted, "But I suppose, if he were to win the war, eh'd be able to tell people how to write the history books, so future generations might not cotton on to just how bad he was." Kit's grin widened. "That's another reason why we have to win the war, Terry: So, we can write the history books our way."



 Riding the icy, moonlit sky,

they took the war to Hitler. 

Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent. 

Their average age was 21.

This is the story of just one bomber pilot, his crew and the woman he loved. 

It is intended as a tribute to them all.  

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 "This is the best book on the life of us fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain that I have ever seen.... I couldn't put it down."-- RAF Battle of Britain ace, Wing Commander Bob Doe.

Winner of a Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction, a Maincrest Media Award for Military Fiction and Silver in the Global Book Awards.

Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/where-eagles-never-flew


 For more information about all my books visit: https://www.helenapschrader.com


Disfiguring injuries, class prejudice and PTSD are the focus of three tales set in WWII by award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader. Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/grounded-eagles






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