A moving talk on the horror of spending seven weeks facing daily beatings at the hands of Iraqi interrogators brought this year’s series of Sunday afternoon talks at The Wing to a dramatic conclusion.
Squadron Leader John Peters was the pilot of an RAF Tornado that was shot down on an ultra low-level daylight mission on the first day of Operation Desert Storm on 17 January 1991, the start of the first Gulf War.
He and navigator John Nichol ejected from their blazing aircraft and landed in the desert, but despite burying their colourful survival equipment and parachutes and trying to crawl to a safe place to hide, they were inevitably captured.
That was the start of a seven-week nightmare in which they were hooded, beaten, had their hair set on fire, were barely fed and were forced to appear on television as part of an Iraqi propaganda campaign.
Despite the mental and physical torture, John Peters told a fascinated audience in the Geoffrey Page Centre at The Wing that he had not suffered any lasting effects from his incarceration. He is now a business coach and director of personal development at Aston Business School and believes the vast majority of people have adequate coping mechanisms to deal with such stresses.
The well-received talk was delivered with passion and drama by a gifted speaker who had the audience captivated from start to finish and answered questions from a number of people. He also signed copies of the book Tornado Down, co-written with John Nichol.
Trustee Andy Simpson has already put together a series of talks for 2020. The list will be on the website very soon. Members of Friends of the Few receive priority booking to some talks and reduced or free entry to all of them.