I was born in December, 1935 and when I was four my father was posted abroad to North Africa with
the cavalry unit so my mother brought my twin brother and I to York where her family lived. We
eventually managed to rent a house on Leeman Road, which was very close to the railway, the
London to Edinburgh line and it was a target for German bombers and in 1942 a bomb was dropped,
attempting to hit the railway line but it landed in the street about 20 feet from our house and caused
considerable damage both to the house and to the surrounding area. The chapel, which was
diagonally across from our house was blitzed to the ground and it's foundation stone was thrown in
the air and came down through our roof, through the bedroom and landed in the living room and on a
The house was uninhabitable at the time from then on and my brother and I had to move to
Scarborough to live with some friends of my mother's. Now my brother didn't like currants so he never
ate Christmas cake and in those days the Ministry For Food was headed by a man called Lord
Woolton and this lady who we lived with used to tell my brother that if he didn't eat his Christmas cake
Lord Woolton would come marching along the street and take him to prison and he actually believed
her so he did eat cake for a while but when we left her house after six months, he never ate
Christmas cake or currant cake again.
We eventually managed to re-inhabit our house and then I did a rather stupid thing. I had a metal
framed bed and I stood on the headboard, the head end and dived off and parachuted off the light
and pulled the whole light fitting out of the ceiling so I had to live in a bedroom without a light for six
months because there weren't any electricians available in the war. All people who had a trade or
were fit to fight, either went in the army or they went to work in munitions factories so I was punished
in another way for doing something stupid.
My father went missing in 1942, in the Far East and he was taken prisoner on Java, which is now part
of Indonesia and he was posted as missing but not presumed dead so my mother was not given any
money by the army to live. She had to live by working mornings, afternoons and evenings and when
my father eventually came home after V.J. Day, he was unrecognizable and I was rather scared
actually because he was really gaunt and he had very short hair and of course my mother made a
great fuss of him so it meant that my brother and I had our noses put out of joint and we became
second favourites so when she was preparing a meal, because of rationing, my father had the best
that was available and we had to eat what was left.
I used to sell my father an egg for sixpence because eggs were on ration. I think we had two eggs a
week so I used to sell him one of my eggs to build him up, allegedly.