Local author relates stories from WWII

Published 8:39 pm Thursday, January 31, 2013

John Shiver, Jr. signs copies of his book Friday.

Atmore native John Shiver, Jr. says he’s “working on 93,” – years of age that is. But for the last two years he has also been working on another project – a book detailing his service as flight engineer and gunner during World War II.

Friday at Atmore’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post, Shiver sat down for a book signing of his completed work, titled “I Always Wanted to Fly.”

Shiver said the work is a product of his memories of his time fighting in the European theater from 1942 to 1945, as well as research and the contents of two journals he kept while serving in the Air Force.

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“I had three notebooks,” he said. “I’ve found two of them, but not the third. My son called the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base and they filled in some material.”

Shiver said the book is something he has always wanted to do, but only had the time during his retirement.

“I was so busy all my life making a living,” he said. “I was almost 90 when I started.”

Shiver said, although he enjoyed the process, there were difficult times when it came to rehashing experiences from the war.

“I had to stay in a room by myself and relive it,” he said. Shiver said the book details his time spent serving in the Air Force in both Europe and North Africa, including a particular mission that he said he will never forget.

“The first one we flew, three of the guys didn’t come back,” he said. “They were killed.”

Shiver’s niece, Gwen Dean Myers, said she helped with the editing process, adding her uncle put the detail and hard work he is known for into every page of the book.

“He has an eye for detail and such a strong work ethic,” Myers said. “When he came back to Atmore, he worked as a mechanic and he employed my father a few times. Dad used to talk about how everything was so clean you could eat off it. He put that same work ethic into the book that he had in his shop.”

“I Always Wanted to Fly,” is available on Amazon.com or, Shiver said, those interested can contact him directly at (251) 368-2622.