Frank Stokes was a young Airman when, on a routine exercise over the Beacons in January 1945, the aircraft in which he was traveling with his pilot crashed into the mountains.
Surviving the crash, but realising the pilot was severely injured, A.C.Stokes managed to stagger over two miles in the snow - crossing two streams in the process, despite suffering lacerated shins and a compression fracture of the spine.
Eventually, after a long and painful journey, he reached the Storey Arms Youth Hostel where he was fortunate that the resident warden was on duty to flag down a passing motorist. Sadly, the pilot of the aircraft had been so badly injured that he did not survive, but staff at the Welsh hospital slowly nursed Frank back to full health.
Over sixty years on, Mr Stokes now lives in Liverpool, but has never forgotten the experience or the kindness of the Welsh people to whom he owes a debt of gratitude.
He has written a fascinating account of the crash, with wonderful vignettes of hospital life in wartime Wales. In it, he pays tribute to the deep warmth and humanity of the people of Merthyr Tydfil, who “despite great hardship maintained a cheerfulness, which most could not match”.