RIP Fred Hirst

Posted on April 26, 2011 by

One of the original founding members of NESA and president of the Manchester Eighth Army Veterans Association Fred Hirst passed away last week. 

Fred Hirst, had served the MEAV Branch loyally and with distinction for many years. He was the Editor of the Branch Newsletter from its inception and has produced well in excess of 100 editions.  Fred also co-ordinated the School Visit Scheme for the Branch and was an accomplished and prolific speaker himself.

During the war, Fred served with the 2nd/5th Sherwood Foresters in Tunisia, where he was captured in 1943.  He was taken to a prisoner of war camp in Italy but twice escaped, with extended periods on the run before bitter recaptured.  When the war ended he was being held in Munich .

Fred wrote an account of his wartime experiences, entitled “A Green Hill Far Away”.  It is a remarkable book, written with extraordinary eye for detail that gives the narrative an immediacy rarely evident in wartime recollections.  There is no literary pretension to Fred’s account, it is plain speaking and beyond reproach.  No doubt this reflects Fred’s Yorkshire pedigree.  We thoroughly recommend it, if you can get hold of a copy. (NESA will provide further details soon).

Fred also provided a World War Two School Talks service in the Manchester, Stockport and Macclesfield areas, suitable for the requirements of the National Schools Curriculum on this subject, which typically involved a Power Point Presentation by Fred Hirst on his experiences.  It was available to teachers and their classes in both Primary and Secondary Schools. However, in primary schools we prefered to confine the talks to Years 5 and 6.   Age for Secondary Schools was not restricted.

Fred’s funeral will be held at Macclesfield Cremetorium on Tuesday 10th May at 2.40 pm (1440 hrs).