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The Indestructible Alkemade’s four amazing escapes from death

Luke delivering his online presentation with a painting of an Avro Lancaster bomber flanked by the front pages of the Hurricane and Victor comics which reported Luke’s grandfather’s amazing story

Luke Alkemade is a volunteer with Thurcaston and Cropston Good Neighbours Scheme and — with his dad Nic — was guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Leicester Novus.

Their subject was Luke’s grandfather, Nico, who had several brushes with death and survived to deserve the nickname The Indestructible Alkemade.

The first happened on March 24 1944 when Nico was a rear gunner in a bomber returning home after a raid on Berlin. His plane was attacked and hit by a German fighter. The Avro Lancaster bomber called Werewolf burst into flames. Nico could stay put and be burned to death or he could jump. The problem was that is parachute was burning, too.

He fell 18,000 feet with only trees and snow to break his fall. He suffered burns and a sprained ankle. He was captured by Germans who thought he was a spy. He was imprisoned in Stalag Luft III before being forced to take part in the Long March away from the advancing Russian troops.

In his own hand… Nico’s letter describing his miraculous first brush with death

After the war, Nico (although he is referred to as Nicholas) Alkemade settled in Loughborough where he had three more amazing death-defying accidents in a chemical factory.

To read more detail about his war service and about the incidents in Loughborough, follow this link to the RAF Museum

Last edited 10:30 on Thursday, 21.05.2020