A MAN from Wilcot has released a book chronicling the lives of seven soldiers, one of which previously served as a Wiltshire Police officer.

Steven Potter, a former member of the RAF, released his book, Seven Short Lives, after extensive research into the backgrounds of a relative who had been in the RAF during the height of the Second World War. Amongst the pages of the book lies the life and times of Fred Clement, a member of the Lancaster crew who had started his service career as a Wiltshire Police officer.

Fred Clement, born in London in 1917, emigrated to New Zealand before returning to the UK in 1935. He then went on to become part of the Wiltshire Constabulary. Based in Devizes, Fred worked the streets as a beat officer, meeting locals and driving his motorbike around the countryside.

When Mr Potter tracked down the family of Fred Clement, he was able to fly out to Australia to meet Fred’s younger brother Les, who shed some light on Fred’s time in Wiltshire Police.

In 1940, after the war had broken out, Fred was ordered to collect a downed German airman from a farm.

Upon arrival Fred found the airman quietly sitting in the kitchen eating. When offered a meal from the farmer’s wife, Fred took the opportunity to a hearty meal, not knowing how easy it would be to come by such an offer during war-time rationing.

Whilst eating Fred noticed the German airman was still in possession of his handgun, something the airman noticed also. As the pilot reached for his pistol Fred thought that this meal could be his last, but was surprised when the pilot respectfully handed over the firearm for Fred to take. After finishing the meal, Fred took the pilot on the back of his bike to the station to await him to be placed into military custody.

Fred Clement's name features on a plaque in Devizes Police station till this day, as well as being immortalised in the pages of Mr Potter’s book, Seven Short Lives.

Seven Short Lives is available on Mr Potter's website sevenshortlives.com for £12, as well as from Devizes Books in Sidmouth Street and the Golden Swan in Wilcot.