I was born in 1921 in Canton, Cardiff.
When I was 15 my father took me from school for an apprenticeship in Fleet Street. When I was in Fleet Street the war broke out, so I applied to join the Air Force.
They sent me to Cardiff to get attested and sit the examination. From there they sent me to Halton, a number one school of technical training, as a fitter. I done a special course on hydraulics.
We were like a family. Each aircraft had its own crew and they all stuck together. They looked after each other.
At the end of the war I received three medals, combat medals. That was the Africa Star, the 1939-43 Medal and the Victory Medal.
After the war I returned to Wales. Come back to a wife and a couple of kids. In the beginning it was marvellous, like. Then I had to go to work and earn money. She never worked. There was no point in her working. I was working. I was earning the money.
I mean, some came back and they’d lost their wives, they’d lost their brothers, they’d lost their sisters. I mean, I don’t know how it affected them. But I was fortunate; I had three brothers in the services.
I had to put my name down on a register for a house. I had two children then and they said until you get a third child you won’t get a house. After the war a lot of these people had come back and they’d got nowhere. They were living in rooms with their mothers-in-law like I was, you know. As soon as you had three children, they allocated you. They allocated me a house up here.
When I came up here, I thought, “what a dump”. It was all rubbish.
I undertook voluntary work in Caerau for over 50 years. We were a small community then. They’d only just started building Caerau. I became the first voluntary youth leader in 1955. I helped to raise money to build a community centre. I used to take a keep-fit class. Girls and boys were separated out somehow. We had dancing. We had a jazz band. We had, you know, everything going for ourselves.
It was like a community then. You know, you all mucked in together. You all looked after each other. On a Christmas, we used to run a Father Christmas parade around the estate for the kids. We used to make up parcels of stuff and give to the old people. Work for the community.
I’m still doing a lot of it now. I am the treasurer of the ‘Ely Grapevine’ newspaper. A newspaper that we send out every quarter.
What you put into life you get out.