It is thought that roughly quarter of a million gay and bisexual men alone, served in the British armed forces during World War II.
The military had a different attitude towards open sexuality just before the war and during.
At the time there was none of the later homophobic uproar about ‘gays’ undermining military discipline and effectiveness. With Britain seriously threatened by the Nazis, the forces weren’t fussy about who they accepted.
One of the more famous gay war time hero’s was Battle of Britain pilot Lieutenant Ian Gleed. In his memoirs published in 1942, still at the height of the war he was forced by his publisher to create a ‘fictional’ girlfriend called Pam. It wasn’t until an interview with Christopher Gotch, his lover that the truth really came out in the 1990’s. Sadly Gleed’s plane was shot down in 1943 and because of the climate at the time…
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