Road in Solihull to be named after war hero Ken Trueman

A local war hero who died last month is to have a road named after him, his family has revealed.

Ken Trueman, a former member of Bomber Command and resistance fighter, died on 30th January – he was 93 years old.

His funeral, to be attended by the Royal British Legion and Royal Air Force Association, will take place on 11th March at Robin Hood Crematorium.

Ken’s family has been informed that the veteran will have a Solihull street named in his honour.

The location and date of the ceremony are being kept under wraps but the move follows a campaign by the borough’s former mayor, Joe Tildesley.

Ken’s daughter Stephanie Awad says: “We are very proud. His life was truly remarkable. He had medals galore.”

The former flight navigator’s wartime deeds were certainly the stuff of big screen blockbusters. The adventures are many, but one stands out.

After he bailed out over Belgium on 13th August 1944, wife Sylvia received a telegram informing her that Ken was missing in action, presumed dead.

In fact, he was being shielded by the Maquis, the Belgian Resistance, and fought with them.

“My mother thought she was a widow,” says Stephanie. “But months later, he appeared on the doorstep in Acocks Green.

“She didn’t recognise him because he’d been living rough and eating acorns.”

In fact, Ken, who was shot down three times during the war, arrived home a day after Sylvia received her widow’s pension book.

Just last year, Ken spoke publicly of his return from the dead.

“We were hit by four light anti-aircraft shells and dropped from 16,000ft to 6,000ft,” he recalled.

“The fourth hit the petrol tank and set the plane on fire. We grabbed our parachutes and bailed out.

“Unfortunately the pilot, Sgt Denis Barr, didn’t make it. He must have gone down the plane to see if everyone got away – he was that sort of man.”

Ken was discovered by a villager and taken into the resistance camp, deep in woodland.

He added: “They were a rag-tag lot, all young lads who had gone into the woods to avoid going into the labour camps and led by a ‘Chief Tom’.

“We lived in the woods and relied on villagers for food.

“We blew up two trains and cut down telegraph poles – anything to cause trouble to German communications.

“But we wouldn’t shoot at the Germans because they would take it out on the villagers.”

Ken was rescued by American troops on 10th December 1944.

In Civvy Street, Ken worked as a carpenter and builder – the great-grandfather was taken ill on Boxing Day and died at Heartlands Hospital.

His wife Sylvia died in 1991.

“My father didn’t talk about his wartime exploits, but he was a Bomber Boy, big time,” says Stephanie. “It was only in the later years that he felt the need to speak about what he did.”

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