Nicholas Winton RIP Aged 106: There are 'celebrities' - whose superficial lives are tracked and whose every witless utterance reported - and there are genuine heroes, individuals whose courage, wit, intelligence, integrity and humanity mark their passage through life, and who react, with astonished - and sometimes almost bewildered embarrassment - when lauded and praised for what they had done. I had first read about Nicholas Winton some years ago, and was absolutely awestruck. The reports of his death today made me return to read a bit more about him and to post this. The short version is that he was described (with justice) as Britain's 'Oskar Schindler'. This was a man, who, as a young stockbroker, with an excellent job in London, interrupted what would have been a skiing holiday in Switzerland in early 1939 to answer the summons of a friend who had contacted him and asked him to travel to Prague, in order to try to help arrange the rescue of Jewish children from an increasingly desperate and dangerous place. At the time, Prague was the capital of the truncated remains of Czechoslovakia (the Sudetenland had been allocated to Nazi Germany the previous autumn). By March 1939 Prague - and the rest of Czechoslovakia - had been annexed by Nazi Germany. Between March 1939 and September 1939, when the Second World War started, Nicholas Winton, with a mixture of charm, bribes, organisational ability, forgery, pressure, net-working, chutpaz, courage, bloodymindedness and sheer class as a human being, successfully arranged the safe passage of eight train loads of Jewish youngsters - a total of 669 kids - across the continent of Europe to safety and sanctuary in the UK where he had arranged for them to stay with host families. Tragically, the last train, the ninth, with 250 children, set out on September 1, 1939, and disappeared from the records when German state borders were closed the same day as the war had started. None of those children survived, - they were murdered in the death camps - and the families of most of the other youngsters who had successfully already arrived in the UK suffered a similar fate. Nicholas Winton himself was characteristically modest about his achievements, - "this was a period of nine months in a life of over ninety years" he remarked years later - and had never spoken of them until his wife found out about it - by accident, on discovering his meticulous scrapbook in their attic - half a century later in 1988. A banker with a social conscience, a first rate fencer, (he and his brother, skilled fencers both, have a competition fencing cup named after them), an ambulance driver at Dunkirk, and, later, an RAF officer (during the Second World War), multi lingual, modest, decent, highly intelligent, somewhat irascible, and possessed of phenomenal moral and physical courage, this is what a true hero looks like. His death - at the age of 106 - was announced today. RIP.