When Ted rang and invited me to lunch, I was intrigued. I arrived, looked around for him, then found him sitting at a table – with a fresh-faced, Rubinesque young lady.‘Apparently this is my second cousin’ said Ted. She was the lead oboe in the Cracow State Orchestra. She was also the daughter of Ted’s cousin, over to see a bit of Britain, Ted said. I believed him, but there was a nagging thought that maybe, no surely not, but, well, he was Ted. And he was alone. And so it proved – not alone for long. Ted was in love.

Then he had a stroke. In hospital he recovered quickly. Who wouldn’t with someone like that to go home to? The second stroke scuppered his speech. It did not scupper Ted. I was best man at their wedding. They settled in a bungalow in Stoke Mandeville, and a daughter was born. The strokes multiplied, so did Ted’s pills, and his inability to talk suffered so that our ‘talks’ were somewhat monosyllabic, yet we always knew what we were saying.

I promised him I would return to the book. It had suffered secondment due to business, the museum I had founded, and my City interests. Ted moved house, and his young wife somehow neglected to tell me - and then he died. That was when and why I determined to write his life. Because the war was Ted’s life. He loved all his family but that was the extent of his ambition. I concluded that for Ted, nothing could ever compare with those five years, when he packed more into half a decade than most of us achieve in a lifetime. How could commercial or financial success ever compare with what he had gone through and achieved?

Ted’s death prompted me to buckle down to the book. I back researched it all. I no longer had Ted to tell me what had happened, and my ageing notes were incomplete. Yet every detail he told me was confirmed. The deeper I dove the more detail I found, the more it emerged that what he had divulged was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.