My army life has now come to an end and civilian life starts again after six and half years , from a boy of 19 to a man of 26, with a wife, Anne, and a child on the way. Houses were in short supply, both due to the bombing and the number of young couples who got married during the war, so we lived with my in-laws in a very tiny hamlet called Upper Dully, near Sittingbourne, Kent.
My first priority was to get a job, as I had in private gardening work before the war it seem only natural I should do the same. Unfortunately very few people in this area could afford to pay for a gardener, so I had to look in another direction. A job came up working for a farmer who had started a new venture – “market gardening”, growing lettuce and tomatoes under cloches. Much as I was glad of the work, I wanted to have a businesses of my own.
Thanks to a chance meeting with a ‘chap in a pub’, who turned out to be a wealthy business man who knew my captain in the Royal Artillery, I did not have to wait long! You will have to read my book to find out how he helped me get started in business.
However, life was far from plain sailing. The death of both my parents and my benefactor took there toll on my health and when business declined, I was left in a bankrupt position in 1960 and now with three children.
It is said “there is only one way to go when you are at rock bottom and that is up”. Something I did not appreciate being told at that time, but never the less it is true, as I found out over the period of the next few years.
Life did improve and by 1976 I had been able achieve my dream of building our own home and moving in without any mortgage. Anne and I were able to travel the world for our Ruby wedding anniversary in 1982.
When I retired in 2000 I was lost to know what to do with my time , I was always looking forward to the day I could retire, not so easy as I thought, after working sometimes 12-18 hours a day, not just physically but mentally as well.
Anne had been involved with the Royal British Legion and after several years had now become the President of Women Section in Kent. In March 2000 she was presented with the M.B.E by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, for her work with the war widows. We were all extremely proud of her achievements.
I joined the Normandy Veteran’s Association which had helped keep me busy. You can read a little about My Mission on this web site!
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