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At eight years old, I just wanted to go to the beach!As soon as school was out, I ran for the (glass) doors and stuck my hand out to open them.
My first girlfriend, Hazel Clark, aged three, lived next door. ) I do recall slow, wartime train journeys; people living in the Tube stations in London; houses in Liverpool backing on to the railway line split open like dolls' houses, with furniture falling out; being sick on the ferry boats; Mum putting a rather oversized toddler (me) into a pram to push me over the Irish Free State border to buy unrationed bacon, butter and eggs, and then wheeling the pram back, with me sitting precariously on top, past winking Southern Irish and Ulster policemen at the border crossing.(Every time I hear her now on the radio, I’m reminded of the back seat of the school bus.)I had dreams of "joining the army and learning a trade" (a recruiting slogan of the day), doing my eight years and then investing my gratuity in a nice little radio shop in the corner of Bicester's Market Square (and maybe settling down with Heather from the hairdressers', next to the butcher's shop where I worked part-time after school).Anyway, I went to the Army Apprentices School, Arborfield, in 1954, where by chance I met some "army brats" I'd met before around the world. ’Chris Fussell was living in Malta when, as he recounts below, he found himself benefiting from some expert bandaging skills honed during World War II.He enlisted in 1926, as a starving miner, after the General Strike.He served in Palestine and India (where my sister, Brenda, was born in Poona, in 1935; Alan, my brother, was born in 1930).