|Eric Jephcott DSM... not!|
Proof that age be no bar to waltdom, one would think that Eric Jephcott (aged 84) would know better? Suitably, and smartly attired in RAF tie & blazer, complete with 617 Squadron badge and medals, Jephcott turned up at a recent event commemorating the restoration of a Spitfire and decided to ‘go large’... with fries!
Eric boasted that he was Gibson’s rear gunner on the iconic Dambusters raid, despite his name not being on a very well publicised list. This is akin to claiming you were at the Charge of the Light Brigade, or at Rorke's Drift! Very bad walting drills indeed. No matter, crack on with the walting.
He then went on to slate the 1954 film of the famous raid for inaccuracies, saying: 'There is about three minutes of fact, the rest is just hearsay'. He didn't even mention the dog.
Though Jephcott had indeed served in the RAF (albeit after the war), it was as an officer’s ‘batman’ rather than steely-eyed aircrew. Eric had also walted it up as a Dambuster in 2003, during 60th anniversary celebrations.
Quite how he wasn’t spotted then is something of a mystery considering he was (unusually for the RAF) sporting a DSM, and that the medal ribbons were upside-down - and more applicable to service in the Royal Navy rather than the crabs.
At the time he stated: 'If anyone said they weren’t frightened they were total bloody liars. 'It was sheer relief that it was all over, I just wanted a cigarette and a good cup of tea'. Probably quite correct in general sentiment, but somewhat ironic that it was utter cock.
Unfortunately for our hero, his daughter exposed him as a fraud and admitted that he’d been a market gardener during the war – a reserved occupation precluding him from military service. She added: 'I do believe in honesty and I don’t like the idea of the way it looks on the family. 'Anybody could come up with a yarn like that, but it is a desecration to the men who did the mission and those who died. 'I don’t think he even picked up a gun – unless it was at the fairground'.
His daughter added that she’d heard nothing of medals or of Mr Jephcott being in the RAF until he started spouting it in 2003. Fair play to the ol’ girl for bubbling this harmless but embarassing imposter. Quite sad.