It took several months to track down the missing contexts, the details of place and event, weaponry and ways of life. Then I wrote – one day a week, and read it aloud to my wife, whose body language always tells me when I need to make a change. The book was completed in around nine months.

As a publisher myself I knew I had neither the right nor the ability to judge my work; my specialism was history; this was certainly that, but it was recent, and ‘fiction’. I wrote to publishers. Most ignored me. I wrote to 45 literary agents. Eleven replied, all bar three with standard rejections. One told me she didn’t like it, another that he did but it was not a good time. The other was a friend, and he just said it was a pity I wasn’t Victoria Beckham, for then it wouldn’t matter what it was, it would be published.

One of my interests was an unusual arrangement I had made for my City livery company with the armed forces – a high level association to recognise their dedication, and that had led to a particular friendship with an RAF officer. One day we were lunching and he asked me if I wrote anything those days. Having published hundreds of books, and written 23 myself, the question was predictable. I told him about Ted and he told me he had a stake in a new publishing firm.

Ted’s story eventually appeared, but the firm disappeared, and that might have been that. My wife also works in publishing – marketing books for publishers. One evening she brought home a fascinating account of a Polish woman’s war, and I asked her about the publisher. That’s how I met Stefan, who warmed to Ted’s tale, and took it upon himself to make it available as an e-book. If you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed an evening with my friend Ted, that will go some way further to honour the memory of a truly decent man.