The Bridge: A short story

Rated 5.00/5 based on 3 reviews
A broken down truck blocking a bridge over the river in rural Holland leads to an unexpected encounter between a Dutch woman and an English holiday maker. Could this middle-aged, bearded man really be the young soldier she had fallen in love with when he dropped from the skies to capture the very same bridge 30 years ago? More
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About William E. Thomas

William Edward Thomas
2nd September 1925 - 19th February 2014

William was born in West London in 1925. He left The Brompton Oratory School when he was 14 and started work as a messenger at the BBC. When war broke out, his mother insisted he left central London and went to work with his father at a factory in Harrow. While still a teenager, William joined the army and was soon recruited in to the parachute regiment. By the time peace had been declared in Europe in May 1945, he had been “dropped” in to a number of key battles and become a much decorated soldier. He was still only 19 years old.

Following the war, William served in Palestine until 1948.

He has always believed passionately that education leads to opportunity. He has studied part time for both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts degree and was one of the first students to enrol with The Open University.

William has six children. As they were growing up, he was working and studying in shifts as a merchant seaman and an engineer, working his way from factory shop floor to management. In his mid fifties, he decided to work full time as a lab technician at his Alma Mater, The Open University and remained there until his retirement. It was during his retirement that he decided to set himself the challenge of writing a novel. The Cypress Branches is the result.

William's health started deteriorating shortly after finishing The Cypress Branches and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2006. After a decade-long battle against the disease, William passed away peacefully in February 2014, surrounded by his family. He was 88.

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Marianne Curtis reviewed on Dec. 26, 2012

I don't normally read war stories and I am glad that I made this one my first in over two decades. I found the author's tale very engaging and it made me want to know the rest of the story. Our generation and the ones after us seem to have forgotten the importance of these wars and the sacrifices made by the men and women who gave their lives for our freedoms. Stories like this are important to share, especially when coming from the mouths of those who were actually there; fiction or otherwise, when they come from someone who has been there, you know there is some truth to it. I especially like that even though the author is incapacitated; his family is still sharing his stories with the world. Thank you William Thomas, for your service and sharing your stories.

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Vanessa reviewed on Aug. 13, 2012

Excellent story, very moving.
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Duncan Watt reviewed on July 21, 2012

What a very moving short story; a very clever idea. I enjoyed it very much. Well worth reading.
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