Kanyu Camp - Working Men -2b

Sketch by Jack Chalker

Britain at War
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My Youth
Sailing to War
Under Siege
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Going Home
My Youth


My Mum and Me

I was born December 24th 1918 at Bells Marsh Road, Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk, being one of twelve children. My father left school at twelve years to become one of the many fishermen of Great Yarmouth. Following the herring, he was away for many months of the year and it seemed to me every time he went away my mother had another mouth to feed. He was a great pop to me not having a lot but always seeming content with his work and family, wanting only a pint of beer and a cigarette for himself, he always did his best for us. After the first world war like many of his profession he was out of work, he helped build the Gorleston Yacht Pond. As things got back to normal he then went back to the drifters.


mum and dad-1

Mum and Dad

Our house backed onto the Gutting Meadow in Gorleston and during the fishing season my parents earned extra money by taking in the Scot's Fisher girls, they were always very clean and tidy even when coming back from gutting the fish, the aprons and boots covered in blood and scales, they would never come into the house before they washed and changed their cloths (washing was being hosed down). They kept their belongings in a chest in their quarters, and in their spare time they were always knitting in a strange fashion, having the left knitting needle fixed to their side in a hollow piece of wood called a knitting shield.

My mother had the thankless task of bringing us up, she was very firm and strict but she had a special love which has warmed my memories of her. In the later part of 1930's work was very short, brothers Albert and Ernie, joined the fishermen, Auby and Charlie joined the navy, Jack the army and my father went to work on the ports haven, repairing the quays pilings.

Yarmouth Colours-2

Town Boy Colours

The Sea had never interested me but luckily playing football had, Millers Shoe Factory had ambitions of winning local football trophies, this gave me a head start having played football for Stradbrooke School, Alderman Leach School and Town Boys, I secured a good job on the 'last' machine at their factory on the South Denes. One of my football team-mates, Freddie Wright, had a very attractive sister Phil, and I begun to walk her out.

My pop died of a stroke in 1938 at the age of 61, I later turned to him in times of great despair always feeling his presence and understanding.


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