Author Alan Owen was fortunate enough to call John Bridge a friend.
John told him the whole remarkable story of how in the Second World War he defused more than 100 bombs and unexploded ack ack shells in the dockyards of Plymouth in one year.
Then it was on to Scapa Flow and mine disposal, where he learned to dive, something that would aid him in his greatest endeavour. After five bomb disposal experts had died in the attempt, John Bridge donned his diving suit and lowered himself into the depths of Messina Harbour, Sicily.
The harbour was an essential stepping stone for Allies in the invasion of Italy and had been sown with mines by the retreating Germans. 27 hours in that diving suit and 207 - 207! - mines later, the harbour was cleared. This one action accelerated the invasion hugely. Then D-Day, clearing Sword and Omaha beaches, then the bridge at Nijmegen ...An unparalleled story of indomitable courage.