I began to discover who my father
(John Maclean) really was in 1974, about five years after he died, by which time I was fifteen years old.
At that time, while rummaging through some old family photo albums I found a picture of a young man escorting a German prisoner. It was a major shock for me, John was a completely different
man from the one I remembered; gone was the beer gut, his hair was dark not grey, he had vitality, purpose, he was a good looking man.
I eventually discovered that the German was Siegfried Fehmer
head of the Gestapo in Norway throughout WWII, and John had captured him single-handedly at the end of the war.
Officially John was assisted by two Norwegian police officers, however according to a conversation John had with his sister some years after the war,
the two policemen separated from John as tracks diverged - the Norwegians captured Fehmer's assistant while John faced up to Fehmer alone.
The two groups were at this point separated by a distance of some miles and unable to rejoin for almost three days due to a severe snow storm.
Over the next 30 years I took time out as often as I could to track down people who knew John before, during and
after the war. In the 70s and 80s that was reasonably straightforward, but by the late 90s my leads were drying up as the last of
that generation finally gave up ther own personal battles. I've met many amazing people; I can remember travelling for miles down a lonely
country track to find an old man living in a wooden shed. His day consisted of cutting logs for a wood burner, and picking
dead rabbits out of traps. But 40 years earlier he had been in the middle of Bergen-Belsen. Another man was a multi-millionaire owner
of a large company, he could never forget cutting the throat of a young German soldier while in the Norwegian Resistance. And another
had been part of the British Army at Lientz in Austria in May 1945, and within 6 weeks was liberating a Japanese prisoner of war
camp in Burma - he felt that somehow one cancelled out the other. These people, an entire generation, were no different from mine of course,
they had youth, they had hopes for the future, but in their teens and early 20s they experienced things that they hoped no-one would
ever have to experience again. Many died, but those that survived had also sacrificed their youth and promise. And as my children
grew and these people disappeared, I realised that passing on that message was now my job too.
Initially I wrote down the events involving John Maclean. There were gaps in the timeline, and it was not
clear to the reader why John was involved in any of it. My eldest daughter tried to read it, but
John had died 19 years before she was born, there was
nothing she could relate to, and that version was never fully read by anybody except me. For a while I thought, 'they'll get to it
when they are old enough', but as I approached my father's final age, I began to worry that if I suddenly went then the link would be broken
completely. So I tried again with a script that contrasted John's generation with my children's, I gave people dialogue, and I gave the scenes
context. My children read this, and while they argued that they would never speak like that (they do though), they did read it!
And then others got to read it, and I was persuaded that it should be presented to a wider audience.
Over the last three years, while continuing with the day job,
I have revised the script many times based on feedback, and earlier this year I decided to devote the summer of
2009 (from April until the end of September) to pushing this thing as close to production as I can get it. There is now a
, which is fantastic, and over
the past four months we have produced pilots
of three keys
areas of the script, held script read-throughs
and around Inverness, and developed this web site. I am very grateful to everyone who has participated in this project, there have
been times when their enthusiasm replaced my own.
Iain Maclean October 2009
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Copyright Iain Maclean �2010 - Script has been registered with WGA