Richard Anthony Myerscough
Born 10 March
Died 22 Nov 2009
25 November 2009
Published By Matthew Squires
A born and bred Prestonian who was part of a top secret operation to plan the D-Day landings during the Second World War has died aged 90.
The family of former housing inspector Richard Myerscough, from Fulwood, have lifted the lid on his wartime work.
Mr Myerscough, a grandfather-of-three, drew many of the maps used to plot the invasion of Europe and which were unveiled to the King, Prime Minister and military chiefs.
According to his son Justin, he told how he had an office near Winston Churchill's at Whitehall and later near Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
He was part of the BIGOT* list of top-secret personnel and produced maps at St Paul's School, Hammersmith, London, even drawing up a small scale map for Montgomery to carry personally.
While Mr Myerscough had increasingly spoken of his work during the war, its top secret nature means it has taken his family years to piece together.
Justin, 41, from Kirkham, said: "Before the war he was an apprentice to a surveyor.
"When he reported to the public hall in Preston at the start of the war, virtually no-one could drive. They said: 'We need you' and sent him to Norway where he was driving for a colonel."
When senior officers discovered he could also speak some French he was sent to communicate messages to French Legionnaires in Norway. He served in the country from April to June 1940.
Mr Myerscough added: "They found out he had these surveying qualifications and said he should never have been driving with these qualifications so they sent him to Manchester to technical college and to the base at Aldershot."
Whitehall offered him a commission as an officer, which he turned down because of the costs involved.
But his skills were so badly needed he was taken on anyway, ending up as personal assistant to HQ21 Army Group from July 16, 1943.
Mr Myerscough said: "In the end he talked a lot and we were able to piece together his whole 1939-45. Even though he had no rank, colonels could not come in the room he was in. He became a man of no rank yet had the power to turn away people from his door."
After he was discharged he was unable to pick up his surveying career and began developing houses in Preston. He spent the majority of his working life as a housing inspector for Preston Council from the late-1950s onwards.
He met wife Jean, 80, after the war and they had two children. He died on Sunday morning in St Catherine's Hospice, Lostock Hall.
His wife said: "He didn't speak about (the war) a lot, until latter years. He knew where the landings were going to be."
Justin hopes to track down maps produced by his father through The National Archives. The funeral is at St Anthony's Church, Fulwood, at 11am on Tuesday.