I was (born in) Birkenhead in 1916 and was called up into the Army in 1940. I started work at the age of seventeen. Eventually I found a job as an apprentice optician with a large company in Liverpool and used to travel across the river Mersey on the ferryboat every day, to and from work. After two years at work, I was called up into the army and had to cease my studies for the time being. Well, I was then posted to a workshop in London and spent the next 6 months or so in London, when the blitz was on, repairing the guns and the instruments etc.
I was then posted out to India, and eventually into Burma and the move to Burma was a typical army move I’m afraid. We were given brand new guns, tractors, trucks, everything brand new. They kept delaying moving us into Burma, till eventually they started to move us when it was pouring with rain, the monsoons had set in. And they said, “Well you can’t possibly take your guns and tractors in this weather. You’ll have to go by boat and train and you’ll pick up the equipment in Burma.” And the equipment in Burma had already been through a campaign and, as you can imagine, was rubbish, and needed quite a lot of maintenance. I spent two years in the Burma campaign and eventually landed up in an island called Ramree. We actually camped quite close to a village. Anyway we went from there, and back to India to reequip for Malaya but in that particular period, VJ day was declared and so we went home to England.
I spent quite a few months in the army, trying to get out. But eventually I did and went back to my job and transferred myself from Liverpool, where I worked, to London. I didn’t like London so we moved to Swansea and I should say Swansea is one of the nicest places I’ve lived in. Not as good as Llanidloes though, mind you!