Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Roger Waters: Veteran solves mystery of father’s wartime death

A 93-year old veteran has solved the mystery of the wartime death of the father of Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters.

The Guardian reports British veteran Harry Shindler, who has spent years cracking the cases of soldiers lost in Italy, discovered documents revealing the exact time and place where the singer's father – Lieutenant Eric Fletcher Waters – died during a German attack shortly after the Allied landing at Anzio in 1944.

Shindler tracked down a report of fighting after the Anzio landing at the National Archives in Kew, which revealed Waters was killed in a ditch at 11.30am on February 18, 1944 after his company was surrounded during "stiff fighting". His body has never been found.

More importantly, Shindler found a map reference, which he matched with a then rural spot that is now at the centre of the town of Aprilia.

"Waters didn't know where his dad was killed, but nobody had lifted a finger," said Shindler. "I knew there had to be a war diary, but I never thought it had been kept for 70 years."

Waters's father, who died when his son was five months old, is central to Pink Floyd's “The Wall”, in which the disturbed protagonist, Pink, grows up longing for a father figure.

"Waters is delighted and so am I," said Shindler from his home in Italy. "He is a man who has spent his whole life trying to find his father and now he's done it."

Waters presented a peom, entitled “One River”, to Shindler in appreciation of his efforts.

Signing it, "To Harry, with gratitude," Waters’ poem, which was published on Monday in Italy's La Repubblica, contains the lines: "My father, distant now but live and warm and strong / In uniform tobacco haze."

"I am now talking to the council in Aprilia about unveiling a plaque and holding a ceremony next 18 February, to which Waters could come," said Shindler. "He might well think his war is over now."

Last week, Waters was among the performers at the 7th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit as part of The New York Comedy Festival – watch his full set here.

See also:

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