UPDATE: Received a message from Dr Rolf Ebhardt, the Luftwaffe nightfighter ace, who features in ‘Welsh Heroes of World War 2: Airman on the Run’. Rolf came to the UK to meet the programme’s main character, John Evans.
Have viewed the film, Rolf says: “I was impressed about the marvellous outcome of the interview. So the two old men are still “going strong” (at least more or less!). I am glad I could represent the former enemy in a dignified manner to your countrymen,which in turn helps for good relations between our two nations, to come together also in future in friendship.”
I filmed a long interview with Rolf, which has never been shown anywhere: this was his first TV appearance. We are now working on plans for another documentary.
A veteran of 41 Commando has made an emotional return to the beaches of Normandy.
Ted Owens, aged 88 and from Pembroke Dock, Wales, returned to the spot at which he had been wounded during the landings as part of filming for an upcoming television programme.
Ted also made an astonishing visit to a town in the Netherlands where civilians paid a terrible price – not only at the hands of the Germans but of the British too.
“It was an amazing trip into the past for me,” said Ted. “I was able to walk near Sword Beach where I landed and was wounded.
“We also went to the Walcheren Islands where I took part in a commando landing exactly 68 years ago this November.
“I spoke to many local people there. That was very moving indeed.”
Ted’s trip was filmed for the first in a special three-part series, titled ‘Welsh Heroes of World War 2’, which will be broadcast on ITV Wales on Thursday, November 1.
Ted attended a special service at Bayeux War Cemetery and was invited to the village of Maizet, along with other Welsh veterans.
Maizet holds a service every year to honour the Welsh soldiers who liberated the village in 1944.
From France, Ted travelled to Westkapelle, a town in the Dutch Walcheren islands, which were the scene of a crucial battle late in 1944.
Ahead of the invasion by troops, including Ted, the RAF bombed dykes to flood the island and weaken the German defences.
In Westkapelle, Ted met people who remember the destruction that the bombing caused.
* Watch WELSH HEROES OF WORLD WAR 2: D-DAY COMMANDO online now. D-DAY COMMANDO
The Wales This Week special ‘The Bullseye Killer’ has won a British Academy Cymru Award (Bafta Cymru).
The hour-long documentary won a Bafta in the Current Affairs category of the awards at the Wales Millennium Centre.
The programme documented the crimes of John Cooper, one of the most notorious criminals in British history.
Cooper burgled, raped and murdered during a 15-year reign of terror, which included four executions by shotgun. And, far from keeping a low profile between crimes, he even took time to appear on the gameshow Bullseye.
ITV Wales had exclusive access to the police enquiry and the forensic science which finally trapped Cooper.
‘The Bullseye Killer’ was transmitted the night Cooper was jailed in May 2011.
Next week an inquest will open in London to answer questions about one of the most baffling of all modern spy stories.
Gareth Williams was a well-liked and extremely talented young man from a small village in Anglesey, who went to work for the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.
But he died in bizarre circumstances.
Gareth’s body was found locked in a hold-all at his flat in Pimlico in August 2010. The bag was padlocked from the outside and placed in his bath.
A recent pre-inquest hearing heard, from a lawyer representing the Metropolitan Police, that it was “very difficult if not impossible” for Gareth to have locked himself inside the bag.
Gareth’s family’s lawyer Anthony O’Toole, said that if the spy had not locked the bag himself, there was “a high probability that there was a third party present in the flat” at the time.
He added: “The impression of the family is that the unknown third party was a member of some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services – or evidence has been removed post-mortem by experts in the dark arts.”
This is a sensitive story to cover but it is one that is both of interest to the public and in the public interest.
The coroner has said it has already “caused much public anxiety and concern”.
Two of the main lines of inquiry being followed by the Metropolitan Police appear to have come to nothing.
Early on in the investigation police issued an appeal for information about a Mediterranean couple reported to have called at Gareth’s flat. But at the recent hearing they were now described as a “red herring”.
In addition, DNA found on Gareth’s hand and thought to be key to the inquiry has now been confirmed as belonging to a forensic scientist.
An error at a forensic laboratory belonging to LGC Forensics had caused details about the sample to be incorrectly inputted into a computer leading police to think it could belong to a suspect.
Little is known about Gareth’s work but he had been on two courses which meant he could be “operationally deployed”.
Among the mourners at his funeral was MI6 chief Sir John Sawers who told the family that Gareth had done “really valuable work” in the “cause of national security”.
We are unlikely to hear anymore about that work. The Government has ruled that evidence to the inquest about his work will be heard in secret.
ITV Wales’ award-winning current affairs programme Wales This Week brought together a group of experts to review the available evidence.
One point that struck our panel was the way in which Gareth’s reputation had been pulled apart by lurid headlines in the weeks following his death.
Could someone have been feeding information and rumour which would smear Gareth’s name?
If he was a national hero, as Sir John seemed to suggest, who could be behind the smear?
One of our panelists, Miles Goslett, a journalist who investigated the case for the Sunday Times, asked: “Why was it that within 48 hours of [Gareth’s] body being discovered a newspaper was reporting the fact that not only was he gay, and stating it as fact, but also that he was possibly a transvestite? I mean, how was this relevant and, more to the point, where this so called information came from is rather unsettling.”
Another issue likely to interest the coroner is the apparent eight-day delay in someone raising the alarm that Gareth was missing. Mr Goslett described this as “extraordinary” given Gareth’s work.
Police went to the flat following a call from a personnel manager at GCHQ, who will give evidence to the inquest.
“Seventy-five per cent of my life I can keep in a normal context. I have to confess that the 25 per cent is my bogey man… It’s the place where I don’t like to linger for long.”
Those were the words of Jim McWade in a Wales This Week film called ‘Living With Dementia’ which was broadcast last year.
The film followed Jim, who suffers with Alzheimer’s Disease, and his wife Maureen, and Peter Oldacre, who was looking after his wife Ann.
The programme was now been shortlisted for a Guild of Health Writers’ award. It is up against three items from BBC network news and a programme from BBC Radio 4 in the Best Broadcast Programme category.