|About the Book|
This is not a novel, and it’s not really a historical record, it is the modern equivalent of oral history, the ancient tradition of stories being handed down from one generation to the next.Like many things, it started with a coincidence. I work inMoreThis is not a novel, and it’s not really a historical record, it is the modern equivalent of oral history, the ancient tradition of stories being handed down from one generation to the next.Like many things, it started with a coincidence. I work in Banbury in Oxfordshire as an Optometrist, so spend my days talking to people, and their history is important both clinically and socially. Many of my patients are elderly, and have interesting stories to tell. One day I met an elderly man who retold the story of when he had survived a daring bombing raid on the factory where he worked. He escaped unhurt, if rather shaken because he was having his lunch outside on the Heath. This phrase rang a bell... so I asked him where this was, and it turned out that he was working at the Vickers factory at Brooklands.I had heard this story before.I emailed my father, to tell him of the coincidence, and to ask him to fill in the facts that Id either not been told or didnt recall, and it made me realise that we didnt have a written record of any of these family stories that would soon be lost as the memories of both the young and the old are not infallible.The man who, you will read, left school at 14 with a rudimentary education and now, at the time of writing this account was in his 85th year, had mastered the mysteries of the internet and email with the same methodical precision as he had mastered many other skills, and so we embarked on an email conversation spanning many months, trying to gather together an account of his life from birth to the end of the second world war, spanning one of the most significant periods of European history.The story is told in his own words, and using his own grammar, and his own mistakes, so hopefully it retains his own voice.