Archive: “Childhood”

The early years

I was three years old at the commencement of the Second World War in September 1939. My parents became anxious to move us away from this particularly dangerous area to somewhere slightly less in the line-of-fire. Accordingly we moved, in December 1940 to Wellington, in Shropshire, or, to be more precise to an area known […]

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An inspector calls

One of the earliest experiences which engendered my subsequent suspicion and lack of respect for authority in all its forms, happened when I was about seven years old. I was in the second class at Chelsfield Primary School, when the teacher drew our attention to a very serious-looking man who had entered the classroom. “This […]

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Fly the flag

Chelsfield School

During my time at Chelsfield school, we were required to observe the ritual of Empire Day. Though I had no idea at the time as to what this was all about, I am now in full possession of the facts due to my research for this story. Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable tells it […]

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That word

This momentous event occurred when I was about six years old and as innocent as a new-born lamb. We were seated ‘en-famille’ around the kitchen table: Father, Mother, sisters Betty and Gladys, brothers Ted and Ron and of course, little me. At some point in the proceedings I decided to demonstrate my familiarity with the […]

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A prophetic dream

The war had come to an end, so at the time of this anecdote I would have been about nine. My father had bought a car, a Lanchester Ten, just before the war ended and in due course had decided to join the Royal Automobile Club. I remember quite clearly that he received a visit […]

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Childhood memories


Standing beside a large, shiny cylinder which appeared to be draped in white cloth and thick, silky ropes. I was four and my eldest brother had taken me to see this landmine, which I presume had been made safe! Crazy! — The occasional lesson taken in the garden of Chelsfield school on a sunny summer’s […]

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This was the number of the barrage balloon site, which the R.A.F. Regiment established in what we children referred to as “the grass field”. This is the same field to which I once set fire in an earlier tale and was about 250 yards from our house. It was so-called because, although it was part […]

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Secondary school

Between the ages of eleven and fifteen I attended Charterhouse Road Secondary School in Orpington. In my first year we were taught by Miss Stevenson. She was, I believe, of French extraction and certainly taught French as her main subject. She was a typical school teacher of the era, 1947, who seemed to care little […]

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Webster’s dog

When I was a child I lived in a road known as Craven Estate in Orpington. This road was ‘not adopted’, according to a footnote on the nameplate, which meant that, like many others in Orpington Urban District, it was not surfaced and maintained by the council. The surface was very rough, with a plentiful […]

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