About “Loving the Enemy”

It is the beginning of the Nazi era. Fascinated by the terrible political spectre unfolding in Germany, and with vague notions of building bridges, Fred Clayton, a grammar schoolboy from Liverpool, and brilliant Cambridge scholar, leaves the comfort of the halls of Cambridge and makes a troubled journey to discover first-hand what life must be like to live under the despotic regime. Arriving in Dresden, he develops a friendship with a German family that will change his life.

Through the course of the next decade, with his and their nations at war, Fred will not forget the connections that have been made and refuses to allow hate to win.

After the war, with Dresden in ruins, reflecting his own state of mind, Fred writes to the same German family; a correspondence begins with the youngest daughter, Rike, which brings healing, love and redemption.

This site tells all about the real-life love story between Fred Clayton and Rike Büttner-Wobst, the subjects of “Loving the Enemy”, who were my grandparents, and documents my journey of telling their story.

About the Author

Andy March is a vicar in Coventry, which has been home for him and his family for the past 9 years. He graduated from University of East Anglia with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, he has channelled this passion for storytelling into his work as a vicar, where he seeks to find ways of bringing the Bible narratives to life and communicating them to all ages.  

It wasn’t until his grandfather, Fred Clayton, died, that Andy became fully aware of the extraordinary life that he’d led. At his funeral Fred’s brother, George, delivered a moving and passionate eulogy, which had a profound impact. Andy didn’t think much more of his grandparents and their stories until 2014, when he was a Vicar in Coventry. Both Coventry and Dresden had been destroyed by bombing in the Second World War, and there was a strong history of reconciliation between the two cities. In February 2015, on the 70th anniversary of Dresden’s bombing, The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Coventry, the Lord Mayor of Coventry, the Dean of Coventry Cathedral, and a number of others made an official trip to Dresden and Andy had the privilege of being part of that group. There he was invited to tell the story of his grandparents, featuring in the Church Times, on radio in the UK (BBC 5 Live), and national German television.  Through this he felt he was being given the responsibility to bring their story back to life and through the generosity of the Coventry diocese he was given a sabbatical in which to write Loving the Enemy.  Five years on Loving the Enemy is finally ready to be published!