‘Tomorrow May Never Come’ is the biography of Lancaster pilot Flt Lt Sidney ‘Stevie’ Stevens DFC AE*. Stevie’s is an incredible story of a young boy from Devon who, as 19 year old volunteering in Air Raid Precautions in London, returned home following a shift to find his house completely obliterated through bombing by German Luftwaffe. Stevie looked skywards and vowed from that very moment to become a Bomber Pilot and to get retribution for the devistation caused.
Following his acceptance into the RAFVR, Stevie had a fascinating and completley unique journey through his flight training programme, which saw him sent to America and rubbing shoulders with both the famous, and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and Los Angeles life. After successfully gaining his wings and returning to the UK, Stevie succeeded in his desire and was selected as a Bomber Pilot. Converting on both the Vickers Wellington and Avro Manchester ‘heavies’, he was then trained on the iconic Lancaster before his posting to RAF Scampton on 1st May 1943 to No. 57 Squadron.
Unbeknowingly witnessing the historic Dambusters Raid by 617 Squadron, also then based at Scampton, Stevie diced with death up to the end of October 1943 (following a move to East Kirkby), completing 28 sorties whilst facing the gaunlet of flak and enemy fighters over both Germany and Italy. Despite many eventful sorties, he paid the debt he owed and returned home safely with all of his crew on every occasion – something he was enormously proud of. During this same time, Stevie had a wartime romance with Cpl Maud Miller – an R/T Operator based at Scampton, whose calming voice over the R/T during Stevie’s training had previously captured his attention. He then courted Maud at Scampton, also posted there in May and who was in the control tower and guided Guy Gibson and the returning 617 Lancasters home on that historic morning of 17th May.
Stevie and Maud married, and having added son Adrian to the family, spent a near 74 very wonderful and happy years together.
Following Ops Stevie was immediately awarded the DFC and posted as an Instructor, still aged only 21, with a need for more bomber pilots and Stevie having displayed both his flying and leadership capabilities. Various postings followed with his instructor duties, still incredibly hazardess and full of incident.
Released from service in 1947 he remained in the RAFVR before returning home to Norwich, Norfolk where he trained to become a teacher and taught Maths at schools across the region where he was hugely popular with his pupils, who continued to write to him decades after his retirement. Following the death of Maud, just a day before their 74th Wedding Anniversary in 2017, Stevie later suffered a minor stroke and spent his last years in Saxlingham Hall Care Home, Norfolk.
I was hugely fortunate to get to know Stevie and spent many evenings in his room overlooking the Norfolk countryside, capturing his story in his own words; complimented by the enormous wealth of meticulous documentation, letters, notes and photographs Stevie had kept or recorded. Sadly Stevie passed away in April 2020 during the midst of the Pandemic – but alongside his son Adrian, we made the promise we would complete the book as his legacy.
DETAILS OF BOOK LAUNCH & AVAILABILITY TO FOLLOW – DUE AUGUST 2021