IT was such a sad moment to hear of the passing of a real Solihull legend – the wonderful Alf Miller, better known to most of us as Spike.
During my days as editor of the Solihull News he would often call round and brighten our day with his forthright views on the world. As a fellow Yorkshireman, it was his blunt and simplistic view on life which I always loved to hear.
For many, Spike was an oddity. He would cycle around the town in his beret and his shabby jacket oblivious to those who looked down their noses at him, unaware of what a truly marvellous character they were beholding.
He fought a rear-guard at Dunkirk serving near my grandfather who was in the KOYLIs also battling to protect the retreating forces. The two of them were among the last soldiers to leave Dunkirk.
I once heard an account from a friend at the British Legion about how Spike had returned under fire to the beachhead time and time again to protect his wounded comrades from the advancing enemy.
His actions warranted a high honour. Tragically, those colleagues who witnessed his outstanding bravery were all killed before the recommendation papers went through.
Spike never told me that story. As much as he was outgoing, he was also a very private and humble human being. He was every inch a true hero.
Tonight, I shall raise a glass to Spike, and all those other brave old soldiers to whom we owe so much and pray that we all spend a little more time with those heroes who are still with us.
Darren Parkin, editor, Coventry Telegraph