Our man in Brazil

Eu sou um inglês nascido no Brasil. Eu podia falar Portugeues quase antes de falar minha língua materna, o inglês. Eu ensinei línguas toda a minha vida – eu era uma professora muito boa, aparentemente – e ainda adoro falar hoje. A língua nunca vai me deixar.

‘I am an Englishman from Sao Paulo.’

In the tumultuous 1920s, there were 9,637 Englishmen in Brazil. Eric’s father was one of them, a gentleman, charming, refined, impeccable manners, with a rich baritone voice that filled the room.

Much like his son.

The English new arrivals stepped into a tumultuous Sao Paulo, which gained potency in 1924 with the Paulista Revolt, and an attempt to bring down the government.

Into this chaos was born a boy: Eric. He grows up to be blonde and mop-haired and given the nickname, ‘Fluffy Oliver’ by his men on the Lancaster Bomber he pilots in WWII.

‘We were the Brylcream boys,’ he recalls.

‘I had a crew of seven, a navigator, and very young boys as gunners. I can still hear the ‘ack ack’ from below as they shot at us.

‘I was very lucky to survive. Some of our aircraft didn’t make it back, they were shot down.’

He is proud of his dual-nationality – ‘I am English and I am Brazilian. A faded Brazilian passport lingers at the back of a drawer in his bedroom, recalling long hot days of tennis, cricket and cocktail parties, while the revolution raged around them.

‘I always thought if I was shot down I would survive.’

Eric morreu aos 93 anos em janeiro de 2018. Um cavalheiro até o final.

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