The German family on my mother's side which surrounded me during the Second World War were keen to save my life.
The Zehners were a medical family and my grandfather, Ludwig, was a much loved GP in Hanau am Main, near Frankfurt.
He had three children - my mother Elizabeth, her sister Lorelei, known to me as Tante Lorle, and Onkel Ludwig, an ear nose and throat specialist who kept the citizens of Bavaria in good health from his nest in Passau, on the Danube.
My father was the English opera star Charles Mayhew, who took the lead in many West End productions like Rose Marie and White Horse Inn. He met my mother, who was a German translater, while studying German opera and wed in 1937.
They spent the early years of their marriage in Germany (pictured here) and I was born in Munich in 1939.
But then came the threat of war.
It looked grim for a while, and my father went back to England without his wife and newborn son.
Everyone hoped that the whole quarrel might pass over and my father would soon return.
And Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's short-lived appeasement of Adolf Hitler seemed to offer 'peace in our time' for a while.
But I don't think even my German relations believed it, for all around them there was belligerent talk from their Chancellor Hitler.
And it soon became obvious that I would have to stay put in Germany, away from my father, and wait for the end of the war.
He was recruited to a section of the British Army that would not have to raise guns against the Germans, since it would have been impossible for him to start shooting at his German relatives.
Thus, he prepared defences on the south coast of England with the Pioneer Corps.
Throughout the war, he sent very moving letters to Elizabeth through the Red Cross, hoping she and I were safe and warm.
As I grew a little older Tante Lorle and my mother tried to teach me little bits of English, just 'hello', 'please' and 'thank you' - but not too noisily, for in Germany walls had ears.
But alongside a few prayers in German, like'Liebe Gott mach mich from dass ich in deine Himmel Kom' (Dear God, make me good so that I can join you in Heaven), I silently added love and good wishes to my English father that I had only seen for the first few months of life.
So there we all were. Tantle Lorle had married Onkel Alexander Goebell and they had produced a determined sort of cousin Harald, who had a gang which pretended to be cowboys.
In among the bombed houses in our German town of Fulda these ruffians tied me up fairly loosely, but still with the determination to leave me in the dark.
I felt the joke had worn off when on one occasion the ceiling started falling in. True, they were a bit too gleeful at my tear-stained face but I dismissed them all in my mind since maybe, just maybe, the English were coming.
One day the police entered my life.
I don't know whether the whole thing was done to pack up my troubles and define them physically. But I landed in trouble for taking a piece of chalk and drawing a line round the great Finanzamt, the finance building, when noone was looking - about 400 metres of straight line right round the grey concrete.
The police came round and I had to confess, and cry a bit, and then wipe the line off again with a cloth and water.
I can't say I knew much of what was going on in the war at this stage. However it was clear to me that gigantic forces were at work one night.
We were all out in the garden as soon as the high bombers arrived.
I suppose they were on their way to Dresden, on the night of that huge armada of aircraft, over 2,000 of them, to drop their destructive cargo on that city. The bombers, wave after wave of English and American craft, were tiny sparkles several miles high, surrounded by the flickering searchlights from the German bases.
It was a strange sight to remember now, knowing what we all know about those great convulsions of death that overtook the world in the last years or so of the war.
Next week Richard describes his joy of being reunited with his father and the difficulties of adjusting to life in England.