A former window cleaner has written a book about his father's wartime exploits. WILLIAM DAVIES finds out more.

A SECOND World War veteran has been remembered in a book written by his son.

Wally Parr was born in Lewisham on April 5, 1922.

He died on December 3, 2005, aged 83, at Lewisham Hospital, which is where he was born.

Corporal Parr took part in the glider-borne assault which captured the Pegasus Bridge over the Caen Canal and the Horsa Bridge over the River Orne at Benouville, France, on the night of June 5, 1944.

On that night, D-Day minus one, D Company, 2nd Battalion and the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry climbed aboard six Horsa gliders and were towed across the Channel by Halifax bombers.

Cpl Parr was in the leading glider, which had his wife's name "Lady Irene" chalked on its side for good luck.

They captured the bridge and held it until 1.30pm on D-Day when re-enforcements arrived.

When he was demobilised, Mr Parr worked as a window cleaner in Catford until 1991 when he retired to Normandy.

He was prominent in the battle to preserve the bridge and build a museum to commemorate the efforts of the men who fought there.

His son Barry, who was also a window cleaner, has been inspired by his father's story to write a book about his actions.

In December 2001, Barry made the front page of News Shopper for stopping a girl from committing suicide.

Four years later, by an incredible coincidence, Barry suffered career-ending injuries at work when he fell off his ladder at the very same place he had rescued the girl.

But the accident gave Barry the chance to write his father's life story, entitled What D'ya Do In The War, Dad?

The 57-year-old said: "For many years I had wanted to write my father's life story, but as I laid in hospital, I suddenly had all the time in the world.

"My father was quite a character. Over the past two decades he met Prince Charles and travelled to America to give lectures on his exploits.

"He was always fiercely proud of his south London roots and the Americans loved his sense of humour."

He added: "I wrote my book to inspire other people to record their own family histories. We all have stories to tell."

Wally Parr's ashes were scattered over the old Pegasus Bridge and around an oak tree in Home Park, Sydenham.

For further details, visit pegasus-parr.co.uk

  • Send your history stories to William Davies by calling 01689 885711 or emailing wdavies@ london.newsquest.co.uk